I Am: John 10 - The Good Shepherd

Today’s reading: John 10

Many are familiar with Jesus as “The Good Shepherd”. This chapter in John finds Jesus giving three analogies centered around shepherding, a topic with which many people of the time were familiar.

First, sheep only listen to the voice of their shepherd; they will not listen to a stranger. Similarly, men like the Pharisees to whom he was speaking did not hear Jesus’ word as they were not part of His flock.

Next, Jesus likens himself to the gate. Sheep pens of that era were constructed with high walls and a single narrow opening. The gatekeeper would stand or lay across the opening, serving as the one and only means by which sheep could enter the pen and find rescue from harm. Jesus is the gatekeeper through whom his flock must enter the narrow doorway to God’s kingdom.

Finally, Jesus uses the familiar phrase “The Good Shepherd”. Unlike the hired hand who does not own the sheep and may run away and abandon the sheep at the sight of a wolf, the good shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep. Unlike false leaders, Jesus is willing to sacrifice Himself to save those He protects. He has the authority to lay his life down and to take it up again, as the Father has commanded.

So the questions we are asked: will we listen to the shepherd, will we enter into salvation through Jesus, will we follow Him who sacrificed everything?

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. -John 10:9, 14-15