John 10:1 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentOur blessed Saviour having in the end of the foregoing chapter upbraided the Pharisees for their blindness and ignorance in the mysteries of religion, notwithstanding the high conceit which they had of their own knowledge, he proceeds in this chapter farther to convince them, that they were blind leaders of the blind, though they thought and looked upon themselves as the only guides and teachers of the people. And in order thereunto, he propounds a parable of the true and false shepherd, which represents a good and bad pastor and teacher, and gives us a fourfold mark and character of a good shepherd.
Observe, 1. The good shepherd enters in by the door, that is, he has his vocation and mission from Christ: he comes into the church regularly, in a right and approved way and manner; not by any clandestine methods, or indirect means. To him the porter openeth; that is, the Holy Spirit, who openeth the hearts of men to receive Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the gospel, which the faithful shepherds deliver in his name, and by authority received from him.
Learn hence, That all faithful pastors have a lawful call to the work of the ministry: they enter by a right door, and execute their trust in a right manner; but such as, without a call from God unwarrantably thrust themselves into the ministry, are no better, nor no other, than thieves and robbers, in God's account.
Observe, 2. Another property of a good shepherd is this, That he calleth his sheep by their names.
This importeth three things:
1. A special love that he bears to them. 2. A special care that he has over them. 3. A particular acquaintance with them,
that he may know how to apply himself suitably to them; which though it be eminently verified in Christ, yet it is the duty of every faithful pastor and under shepherd, in his measure, to labour after.
Observe, 3. The good shepherd leadeth out his sheep into good pastures; that is, he feedeth them with sound doctrine, nourishes them with the word of life.
Whereas the hireling or false shepherd, whatever he may do for his own sake, he has no regard to Jesus Christ, to the honour of this person, to the edification of his church, or the salvation of souls; but his design is to raise and enrich himself, and so he may compass that, he cares not how many souls perish through his neglect.
Observe, 4. The last property of the good shepherd, here mentioned, is this, That he goeth before his sheep, as the shepherd doth before his flock; namely, by a holy life and unblamable conversation: he treads out those steps before the people, which they take in their way towards heaven: And the sheep follow him, and are guided by him: He leadeth out his sheep, and goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.