Jesus continued teaching with this story (118). “A thief or a robber doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate; he climbs in some other way. But the shepherd of the sheep goes in through the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him. His sheep hear his voice as he calls them by name, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow another man. In fact, they’ll actually run away from any man whose voice they don’t know.”
Those who heard him did not understand what Jesus meant by this story. So Jesus explained, “I am the gate for the sheep. All who come in through me will be saved — coming in & going out safely to find pasture for grazing. Others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. The thief comes only to steal, kill & destroy. But I have come so you can experience life, in all its fullness, as God intends.
“I am the good shepherd; I am willing to die for my sheep. The hired man is not a real shepherd & he doesn’t own the sheep. So when he sees a wolf coming, he runs away & leaves the sheep. Then the wolf picks off the sheep, one by one. The hired man runs away because he really doesn’t care about the sheep.
“But I am the good shepherd. Just as God knows me & I know God, so I know my sheep & my sheep know me. I am willing to die for my sheep.
“Other sheep in other places also belong to me; they also listen to my voice. All my sheep will ultimately become one flock with one shepherd.
“God loves me because I am willing to sacrifice my life, and then to have it restored again. No one can take my life from me. Instead, 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 God has commanded me to do.”
The people were again divided over the meaning of Jesus’ words. Some said, “He has an evil spirit! He is crazy! Why do you listen to him?”
But others said, “A man with an evil spirit couldn’t talk like this! How could an evil spirit help a blind man see?”
(118) John 10:1-21