TCH MINI-STUDY: 3
THE THIEF COMETH NOT, BUT FOR TO STEAL, AND TO KILL, AND TO DESTROY
The context of our mini-study
is Jesus' healing of a blind man. Jewish church leaders, the Pharisees, did not believe that the man was healed, nor did they believe
that Jesus was the Son of God, or capable of performing such a miracle.
After healing a man who was blind from his birth (John
9:1-11), the Pharisees did not accept the fact that Jesus had healed the blind man: Therefore said they unto him [the healed blind
man], How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto
me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said,
I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened
his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and
I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others
said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What
sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he
had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight (John 9:10-18).
Jewish leaders continued in their unbelief: Then again called they [the Pharisees] the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give
God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know,
that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I
have told you already, and ye did not hear [understand and believe in Christ]: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his
disciples? (John 9:24-27).
In His anger at their unbelief, Jesus then said to the Pharisees, For judgment I am come into this
world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him
heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye
say, We see [understand and believe in Christ and the Son of God]; therefore your sin remaineth [because you do not believe in the
Son of God] (John 9:39-41).
Jesus continued His conversation with the unbelieving Jewish leaders: Verily, verily, I say unto
you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he
that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth
his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him:
for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This
parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto
you [Pharisees], I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but
for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am
the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the
sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The
hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known
of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which
are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore
doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again (John 10:1-17).
In His anger, and in order to
make His point, Jesus contrasted Himself with the Pharisees. Christ told the Pharisees they were not chosen nor called by Christ,
but climbed into the sheepfold [became spiritual leaders] by some other way than through Christ, and as false servants, they place
themselves in importance before Christ. Jesus also described the Pharisees as strangers and thieves who came only to steal, kill,
and destroy, that they were hirelings, they were not the true shepherd of the true sheep, and the true sheep did not hear their voice
nor respond to them. Jesus also said that when they, false leaders, see the wolf [predator of the sheep] coming, they leave the sheep
and flee, and the sheep are therefore scattered. Jesus also told the Pharisees that, as hirelings, they flee the sheep because they
do not truly care for the sheep.
Jesus described Himself as the true and only door into the sheepfold, and that when the sheep
enter the fold through Him, they shall be saved, shall go in and out of the fold, and find pasture. Christ also said that He came
that the sheep might have life, He is the good shepherd who knows His own sheep, and they know Him, and that He knows the Father,
the Father knows Him, He lays down His life for the sheep, and therefore does His Father love Him.
Clearly, Christ was contrasting
Himself with the Pharisees, and all false individuals, ministers, and leaders within [and without] the church. Argument is often made
that this "thief" who steals, kills, and destroys is Satan. Truly, Satan is behind the actions of these men, but scripture makes it
clear that these thieves and hirelings referred to in our subject verses are men, false servants of God. This idea is verified throughout
the scriptures. Jeremiah told us Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from
his neighbour (Jer 23:30), Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD (Jer 23:1), andMany pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness (Jer
12:10). Referring to the shepherds [religious leaders] of Israel (Ezek 34:2), Ezekiel also said, Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you
with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock (Ezek 34:3). Isaiah told us As for my people, children are their
oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths (Isa 3:12).
Scripture makes it clear that false prophets, pastors, evangelists, teachers, and religious leaders are the ones who are stealing,
killing and destroying.