So Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth. I am the gate for the sheep. All the people that came before I came were thieves and robbers. The sheep did not listen to them."
— John 10:7-8
False christs had come and gone. People were constantly looking for a messiah. Many religious leaders were ready to claim that role. But only one was sent by God. Only one did the will of God. Only one was willing to fully lay down his life for the sheep of God. This kind of shepherd not only entered through the gate, but in the open fields, he was willing to lay down his own body to be the gate in the make-shift pens to protect the sheep and to calm their restlessness and fears. Jesus was not seeking his own good or glory, but came to serve God's sheep—including us. Why? Because that is what God wanted him to do and that is because that is what a real shepherd does!
Lord God, I refuse to listen to the false voices of self-appointed religious leaders who are unwilling to sacrifice for your sheep and instead want to fleece them for their own benefit. Thank you, Jesus, for being the one real Shepherd that I can follow. By the authority of your name I offer my prayer and praise. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. When a man enters the sheep pen, he should use the gate. If he climbs in some other way, then he is a robber. He is trying to steal the sheep. But the man that takes care of the sheep enters through the gate. He is the shepherd. The man that guards the gate opens the gate for the shepherd. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. The shepherd calls his own sheep, using their names, and he leads them out. The shepherd brings all of his sheep out. Then he goes ahead of them and leads them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. But sheep will never follow a person they don't know. They will run away from that person, because they don't know his voice." Jesus told the people this story. But the people did not understand what the story meant. So Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth. I am the gate for the sheep. All the people that came before I came were thieves and robbers. The sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. The person that enters through me will be saved. That person will be able to come in and go out. He will find everything he needs. A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came to give life—life that is full and good. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. The worker that is paid to keep the sheep is different from the shepherd. The paid worker does not own the sheep. So when the worker sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. The man runs away because he is only a paid worker. He does not really care for the sheep. "I am the shepherd that cares for the sheep (people). I know my sheep like the Father knows me. And my sheep know me like I know the Father. I give my life for these sheep. I have other sheep too. They are not in this flock here. I must lead them also. They will listen to my voice. In the future there will be one flock and one shepherd. The Father loves me because I givemy life. I give my life so that I can get it back again. No person takes my life away from me. I give my own life freely. I have the right to give my life. And I have the right to get it back again. This is what the Father told me." Again the Jews did not agree with each other because of these things Jesus said. Many of these Jews said, "A demon has come into him and made him crazy. Why listen to him?" But other Jews said, "These things we are hearing are not coming from someone that is crazy with a demon . Can a demon heal the eyes of blind people? No!"
Related Scripture Readings
So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the Lord. The Lord my Master says, "By my life, I promise this to you. Wild animals caught my sheep. Yes, my flock has become food for all the wild animals. Why? Because they did not have a real shepherd. My shepherds did not look out for my flock. No, those shepherds only killed the sheep and fed themselves. They did not feed my flock." So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the Lord! The Lord says, "I am against those shepherds! I will demand my sheep from them. I will fire them! They won't be my shepherds any more! Then the shepherds won't be able to feed themselves. And I will save my flock from their mouths. Then my sheep won't be food for them."
Jesus called all the followers together. Jesus said, "The non-Jewish people have men they call rulers. You know that those rulers love to show their power over the people. And their important leaders love to use all their authority over the people. But it should not be that way with you. If one of you wants to become great, then he must serve you like a servant. If one of you wants to become the most important, then he must serve all of you like a slave. In the same way, the Son of Man did not come for other people to serve him. But the Son of Man came to serve other people. The Son of Man came to give his life to save many people."
False Christs and false prophets will come and do great things and miracles. They will do these things to the people God has chosen. They will do these things to try to fool his people, if that is possible.