The Good Shepherd

back view photo of shepherd walking his flock of sheep in grass field
Photo by Ekrulila on

The Shepherd and His Sheep

John 10:1-18 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth [Truly, truly I say to you], the person who does not enter the sheepfold [sheep pen] by the door [gate], but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. [The sheep represent the people of God; the thief/robber stands for those who would lead them astray; Ps. 23; Ezek. 34.] The one who enters by the door [gate] is the shepherd of the sheep. The one who guards the door [gatekeeper; watchman] opens it for him. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he brings all his sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger. They will run away from him because they don’t know his voice.” Jesus told the people this ·story [figure of speech; illustration; parable], but they did not understand what it meant [he was telling them].

Door-of-the-SheepfoldJesus Is the Good Shepherd

good shepherdSo Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth [Truly, truly I say to you], I am the door [gate] for the sheep. [Jesus now refers to himself as the door rather than the shepherd.] All the people who came before me were thieves and robbers [others who claimed to be the Messiah]. The sheep did not listen to them. I am the door [gate], and the person who enters through me will be saved and will be able to come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes [only]to steal and kill and destroy, but I came ·to give life [that they might have life]—life in all its fullness [abundance].

beige and gray wolf on the green grass
Photo by Adriaan Greyling on

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives [lays down] his life for the sheep. The worker who is paid to keep the sheep [hired hand] is different from the shepherd who owns them. When the worker sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks [or snatches; seizes] the sheep and scatters them. The man runs away because he is only a paid worker [hired hand] and does not really care about the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep [own], and my ·sheep [own] know me,  just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I give [lay down] my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not in this flock [fold; pen; a reference to future Gentile followers of Christ], and I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd. The Father loves me because I give [lay down] my life so that I can take [receive] it back again. No one takes it away from me; I give [lay down] my own life freely [voluntarily; of my own free will]. I have the right [power; authority] to give [lay down] my life, and I have the right [power; authority] to take [receive] it back. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”