1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
• Reflect on the words “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” To what extent does this characterize my relationship with Jesus?
• Am I heeding other voices that are muffling Jesus’ voice in my life?
“The sudden shift of metaphor from shepherd to gate seems rather strange to us, but in reality it is not. When the sheep returned to the fold at night after a day of grazing, the shepherd stood in the doorway of the pen and inspected each one as it entered. … After all the sheep had been counted and brought into the pen, the shepherd lay down across the doorway so that no intruder—man or beast—could enter without his knowledge. The shepherd became the door. The emphatic singular pronoun ‘I’ (ego) emphasizes that the shepherd is the sole determiner of who enters the fold and who is excluded. It parallels the later statement: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).”
• The thief represented “all who came before” (v. 8) who claimed some authority to guide the sheep. What modern-day sources of authority tell people how to live and where to find pasture? In what ways is it accurate that the end result of such thieves’ voices is to “steal and kill and destroy” people’s lives?
• What would it look like for a Christian to allow Jesus to be the exclusive “door” for his life to keep “thieves and robbers” out?