Jesus as the Good Shepherd
“I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.” Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus said to them again, “I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father.”
Another sharp division took place among the Jewish people because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He is possessed by a demon and has lost his mind! Why do you listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of someone possessed by a demon. A demon cannot cause the blind to see, can it?”
Jesus at the Feast of Dedication
Then came the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Portico. The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus replied, “I told you and you do not believe. The deeds I do in my Father’s name testify about me. But you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death. Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?” The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.”
Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform the deeds of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may come to know and understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Then they attempted again to seize him, but he escaped their clutches.
Jesus went back across the Jordan River again to the place where John had been baptizing at an earlier time, and he stayed there. Many came to him and began to say, “John performed no miraculous sign, but everything John said about this man was true!” And many believed in Jesus there.