1 Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. 4 When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.” 6 Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant. 7 So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The 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.”
Other readings: Acts 2:14, 36-41; Psalm 23:1-6; 1 Peter 2:20-25
To help us understand this passage more clearly we also need to read the following verses in John 10:11-18. In verses 1-5, Jesus tells the parable of the shepherd. He explains the meaning in verses 7-16. Jesus uses two
“I am” statements with two metaphors to describe himself. In verse 7, he describes himself as “the gate” and in verse 11 he refers to himself as the “good shepherd”.
The people listening to Jesus would have been familiar with the idea of God as the shepherd and the Jewish people as his sheep. So in identifying himself as the good shepherd, Jesus identifies himself directly with God and his role in protecting and caring for his sheep.
Jesus adds that the shepherd knows each of his sheep by name and leads them. The sheep recognise his voice so they follow him out of the sheepfold, presumably to pastures where they can be fed. In verses 11-16, Jesus alludes to the fact that he will one day lay down his life for the sake of his flock. He also refers to “other sheep”, possibly Gentile converts, which will be added to form one flock.
In addition to being the good shepherd, Jesus also describes himself as the gate for the sheep. The gate is the only legitimate way into the sheepfold. It is only through Jesus that we can become part of God’s flock.
This is summed up in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” (We will look at this passage further next Sunday.)
Jesus also compares his mission with that of false prophets and “messiahs”. The latter steal, kill and destroy. By glorious contrast Jesus brings life – “life in all its fullness” (verse 10).
Why do you think Jesus used these two metaphors to describe himself? What does each metaphor tell you about him?
What have you learnt about Jesus and your relationship with him today?
Do you see Jesus as your shepherd?
When do you experience him leading you? What spiritual food and water does he provide for you? Do you need to make any changes to allow you to hear your shepherd’s voice more clearly in the future?
Psalm 23 is probably the best known of all the Psalms. Read through it verse by verse and use it as a personal prayer to God.
Reflect on this verse from 1 Peter 2:25: “You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.”
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word
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