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).
The 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.  AMEN.

TCH Mini-
                    A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence,
which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree,
that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet
can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?  But
this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and
goneNeither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God,
that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth
unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.  Your iniquities have turned
away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.
For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he
that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.  As a cage is full of birds,
so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and
waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds
of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet
they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.  Shall I not visit
for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged
on such a nation as this?
(Jeremiah 5:22-29).
"And the third day there was a marriage in
Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was
there: And both Jesus was called, and his
disciples, to the marriage. And when they
wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith
unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith
unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?
mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith
unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith
unto you, do it"
(John 2:1-5).

"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator [Greek, mesites, a go between, an internunciator, a reconciler, intercessor] of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator”
(Hebrews 9:13-16).
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified [found by God not guilty, innocent] by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved
by his life
(Romans 5:8-10).
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the
believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith,
in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation,
to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given
thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the
presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them;
that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and
unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt
both save thyself, and them that hear thee”
(1 Timothy 4:12-16).