Sustained by God’s Word of Love
John 10:1-21: Jesus uses the images of shepherd, gate, and sheep to describe the relationship between himself and his followers. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice and follow him. Unlike a thief who comes only to steal or destroy, and unlike a hired worker who fails to protect the sheep, Jesus as the good shepherd is willing to die for the sheep. Jesus’s words once again cause division among the people.
“I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep.”
1Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.2The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.4When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.5They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”
6Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.
7So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep.8All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.9I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture.10The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.
11 “I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep.12When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them.13The hired man runs away because he is only a hired man and does not care about the sheep.14-15 I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them.16There are other sheep which belong to me that are not in this sheep pen. I must bring them, too; they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
17“The Father loves me because I am willing to give up my life, in order that I may receive it back again.18No one takes my life away from me. I give it up of my own free will. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father has commanded me to do.”
19Again there was a division among the people because of these words.20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon! He is crazy! Why do you listen to him?”
21But others were saying, “A man with a demon could not talk like this! How could a demon give sight to blind people?”
Jesus says, “I am the gate” (verses 7, 9) and “I am the good shepherd” (verses 11, 14). These statements are two more among those that are referred to as the “I am” passages in John’s Gospel (see also 6:35, 48; 8:12; 11:25; 14:6; 15:5). In today’s reading, what do the images of “gate” and “shepherd” convey to you about Jesus?
Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd, and you were willing to die for my sake. Lead me each day with your gentle and loving voice. Amen.
Sheep and cattle ranchers
John 10:22-42: Jesus is questioned about his identity.