Here are the 3rd and 4th “I am” statements in the gospel of John. Jesus is “the bread of life” (6:35), “the light of the world” (8:12), “the door of the sheep” (10:7), and “the good shepherd” (10:11). Not only do the statements remind us of Jesus’ deity, they also tell us something about His nature and the nature of salvation. Being the door means that He is the only way to be saved. He is the shepherd (2). He is the only one who can bring the sheep in and out, because the sheep recognize His voice (3). He is the only way because He is the good shepherd (11). He lays down His life for the sheep, and He does it willingly (15, 17), but He is also able to take it back again (18). What a reference to the resurrection! Of course they don’t understand (6), nor do they understand that He is doing this not just for Israel, but for everyone (16). He is the savior of all!
Is there also a reference to the perseverance of the saints here? “They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice” (5)? Perhaps John sheds some light on this in another place:
1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us.”
Generally speaking, those who believe in Christ will follow Christ. We may have times where we “backslide” and seem to be pulling away, but we will come back. The Holy Spirit won’t let us get too far away!
1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”