“Amen, amen, I say to you,” Jesus said to the crowd, “whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep, … the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
Jesus knew that the people who were listening today would understand his parable about a shepherd and his sheep, because many of them owned sheep or lived near someone who did. But Jesus was not finished with his story.
“When he has driven out all his own, (the shepherd) walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Then Jesus explained his message in plain language. “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came (before me) are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”
Jesus held up one finger to emphasize his next point. “A thief comes only to … destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. … A hired man … sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”
Then Jesus tried to show the spiritual meaning of his story about the shepherd. “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, I will lay down my life for the sheep. … The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”
When Jesus had finished his parable, some of the people argued among themselves about what Jesus meant. Some thought he was possessed or out of his mind. Others refuted those claims, because of the miracles Jesus had performed.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. How does a shepherd enter his sheepfold?
2. What did Jesus say he would do for his sheep?