1"I assure you, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2For a shepherd enters through the gate. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they recognize his voice. 5They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't recognize his voice."6
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn't understand what he meant,
so he explained it to them. "I assure you, I am the gate for the sheep," he said.
8"All others who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. 10The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness."
11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will leave the sheep because they aren't his and he isn't their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13The hired hand runs away because he is merely hired and has no real concern for the sheep."
14"I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice; and there will be one flock with one shepherd."
17"The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again. 18No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command."19
When he said these things, the people a were again divided in their opinions about him.
Some of them said, "He has a demon, or he's crazy. Why listen to a man like that?"
Others said, "This doesn't sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah. b23
He was at the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon's Colonnade.
The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."
Jesus replied, "I have already told you, and you don't believe me. The proof is what I do in the name of my Father. 26But you don't believe me because you are not part of my flock. 27My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, 29for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me. 30The Father and I are one."31
Once again the Jewish leaders picked up stones to kill him.
Jesus said, "At my Father's direction I have done many things to help the people. For which one of these good deeds are you killing me?"33
They replied, "Not for any good work, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, have made yourself God."
Jesus replied, "It is written in your own law that God said to certain leaders of the people, 'I say, you are gods!' c35And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people, who received God's message, were called 'gods,' 36why do you call it blasphemy when the Holy One who was sent into the world by the Father says, 'I am the Son of God'? 37Don't believe me unless I carry out my Father's work. 38But if I do his work, believe in what I have done, even if you don't believe me. Then you will realize that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father."39
Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.
He went beyond the Jordan River to stay near the place where John was first baptizing.
And many followed him. "John didn't do miracles," they remarked to one another, "but all his predictions about this man have come true."
And many believed in him there.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)