"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
"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. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
I guess I'll start by noting something about sheep and shepherds (is that grammatically correct? I don't know). We'll start with sheep. Sheep are, above all things, stupid. They have no sense of absolutely anything. This is rather unfortunate for us, since we are the sheep. When you think about, though, we are pretty dumb at times. We do things that make absolutely no sense for no reason. Interesting. But, really, the analogy is best when you think about a shepherd's role in relation to the sheep. A shepherd's job is to take care of the sheep. A sheep cannot do anything without the help of its shepherd to guide it.
This is especially true for us as a sheep of the Good Shepherd. Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd, and we are his sheep. Often, we do stupid things and forget who we really are. Without Jesus, we are almost helpless. Lucky for us, God promises not to leave us, as we find in Psalms.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me."
For the last couple days, I've been really busy and a bit distracted, so I apologize for the shortness of this and yesterday's post. With tests and school and all that stuff, it's been a bit crazy.
I hope your life hasn't been as crazy as mine. Enjoy the rest of your day!