They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it."
Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about.
So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep.
All those others are up to no good - sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them.
I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for - will freely go in and out, and find pasture.
A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary.
A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf.
He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him.
"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me.
In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)