The Shepherd and the Sheep
(1) Jesus said, “You Pharisees, I tell you the truth: Whoever does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by any other way, that one is a thief and a robber. (2) The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When the shepherd brings out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (5) But his sheep will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus is the Good Shepherd
(6) Jesus had spoken to the Pharisees using a parable but they did not understand what he was telling them. (7) Therefore Jesus explained the parable to them:
“I tell you the truth: I am the gate of the sheep! (8) All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep would not listen to them. (9) I am the gate! Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come into this world that they will have life abundantly (life to its fullest).
(11) “I am the good shepherd! The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. (12) A hired worker is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep. Then the wolf attacks and kills the sheep and scatters them. (13) The hired worker runs away because he is simply an employee and does not care about the life of the sheep.
(14) “I am the good shepherd! I know my sheep, and my sheep know me—(15) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for my sheep. (16) I have other sheep that are not from this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock under one shepherd.
(17) “The reason my Father loves me is because I lay down my life—and I will take it up again. (18) No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down by my own choice. I have authority to lay my life down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Jews Disagree About Jesus
(19) Once again the Jews were divided over what Jesus was saying. (20) Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed (demonized)! He is insane! Why even listen to him?” (21) But others said, “These are not the sayings of someone who is possessed by a demon. A demon cannot heal a man who was born blind.”
Jesus and the Father Are One
(22) It was winter (December) and the time to celebrate the feast of Dedication in Jerusalem (Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights, which celebrates the rededication of the temple in December 164 BC). (23) Jesus was walking in Solomon’s Colonnade along the eastern side of the temple complex. (24) The Jews who were there gathered around Jesus, and said, “How long will you keep us wondering? If you you are the Messiah (Christ), tell us in plain language.”
(25) Jesus said to them, “I have already told you, but you refuse to believe. The works of power (miracles) that I do in my Father’s name tell you who I am, (26) but you don’t believe because you are not my sheep. (27) I know my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice and follow me. (28) And I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; for no one has the power to seize them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all things; no one has the power to seize my sheep out of my Father’s grasp.
(30) “The Father and I are one!”
Jewish Religious Leaders Try to Kill Jesus
(31) Because Jesus said that he was one with the Father, his Jewish opponents picked up rocks to throw at him. (32) But Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works of power from the Father. For which one of these good works do you want to stone me to death?”
(33) The Jews said, “We do not want to stone you because you do good works, but because you blaspheme—you are a mere man, but claim to be God.” (34) Jesus said to them, “It is written in Psalm 82:6, ‘I have said you are “gods.‘ (35) And if he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and we know that God’s word cannot be broken—(36) what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into this world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said to you, ‘I am the Son of God’? (37) Don’t believe me unless I do the miraculous works of my Father. (38) But if I do them—even if you do not believe in me—believe in the miraculous works that I do. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
Jesus in Perea
(39) Once again, the Jewish religious leaders tried to arrest Jesus, but he escaped. (40) Then Jesus traveled east across the Jordan River to the place where John had been baptizing people in the early days. (This region east of the Jordan River was known as Perea, in modern Jordan). There Jesus stayed, (41) and many people came to him. They said, “Although John never did a miraculous sign (miracle), everything he said about Jesus was true.” (42) And in the region of Perea many people believed in Jesus.