Jesus speaks of a thief and a robber and the shepherd. Notice the articles used to describe the people. Those who climb by another way is a thief and robber. There are many thieves and robbers. But the one who enters the door is THE shepherd. There is only one Shepherd.
This means that there will be many who pretend to be the Shepherd but are not. Jesus says later in verse 10 The thief does not come, except to steal, slaughter and destroy. This is the effect of those who pretend to be the shepherd. We can identify these thieves and robbers by the effects of their actions.
Do their actions give life? Do their actions point to Jesus the True Shepherd? Or are their actions toward themselves:
- They steal. They take what is not theirs. They claim to have authority that comes from God, but does not. They pretend to give, but are interested only for themselves.
- They slaughter. The Greek word can also mean to rush, hard, to sacrifice by fire. They are not willing to give, but they only take. Their actions lead to death. These encourage people to continue living in sin, without concern for the souls of those who were entrusted to them.
- They destroy. The Greek word means to destroy fully. When they come, they will not leave anything standing.
In the Book of Revelation, there are three groups of people who preach error and whom Jesus singles out. The first group are the Nicolaitans. These are followers of the Nicolas, one of the seven deacons ordained by the Apostles in Acts 6. He left his wife and gave her to whomever wants her. The second group are the followers of Balaam. Balaam was a prophet for hire. He knew God and he would not do anything against what God says. But when God is not present, he seduced the people to sin. He was more concerned about the money and power to be given to him. The last is Jezebel. She is described as a prophet who led the people to idolatry and sexual immorality.
These are the thieves Jesus warns about: The ordained people who lead people to sin. The preachers and teachers who are concerned about money and power and authority, that they will twist words to gain any of these worldly benefits. Those who have leadership position in the Church but lead people to a false god and to sexual immorality.
These are the people we need to run from. We want Jesus, the true Shepherd who say I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. The problem is these false shepherds come with treachery. They have no qualms about lying or deceiving people as long as they can steal, slaughter and destroy.
Lord, let your Truth be told. Let me find life in your truth and let me follow you so I may find a full life.