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The Parable of the Kind Shepherd
1Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Listen to this eternal truth: The person who sneaks over the wall to enter into the sheep pen, rather than coming through the gate, reveals himself as a thief coming to steal. 2But the true Shepherd walks right up to the gate, 3and because the gatekeeper knows who he is, he opens the gate to let him in. And the sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, for he calls his own by name and leads them out, for they belong to him. 4And when he has brought out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them and they will follow him, for they are familiar with his voice. 5But they will run away from strangers and never follow them because they know it’s the voice of a stranger.” 6Jesus told the Pharisees this parable even though they didn’t understand a word of what he meant.
7So Jesus went over it again, “I speak to you eternal truth: I am the Gate for the flock. 8All those who broke in before me are thieves who came to steal, but the sheep never listened to them. 9I am the Gateway. To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. 10A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! 11I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep. 12-13But the worker who serves only for wages is not a real shepherd. Because he has no heart for the sheep he will run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf mauls the sheep, drags them off, and scatters them.
14“I alone am the Good Shepherd, and I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize me and know me, 15just as my Father knows my heart and I know my Father’s heart. I am ready to give my life for the sheep.
16“And I have other sheep that I will gather which are not of this Jewish flock. And I, their shepherd, must lead them too, and they will follow me and listen to my voice. And I will join them all into one flock with one shepherd.
17“The Father has an intense love for me because I freely give my own life—to raise it up again. 18I surrender my own life, and no one has the power to take my life from me. I have the authority to lay it down and the power to take it back again. This is the destiny my Father has set before me.”
19This teaching set off another heated controversy among the Jewish leaders. 20Many of them said, “This man is a demon-possessed lunatic! Why would anyone listen to a word he says?” 21But then there were others who weren’t so sure: “His teaching is full of insight. These are not the ravings of a madman! How could a demonized man give sight to one born blind?”
Jesus at the Feast of Renewal
22-23The time came to observe the winter Feast of Renewal in Jerusalem. Jesus walked into the temple area under Solomon’s covered walkway 24when the Jewish leaders encircled him and said, “How much longer will you keep us in suspense? Tell us the truth and clarify this for us once and for all. Are you really the Messiah, the Anointed One?”
25Jesus answered them, “I have told you the truth already and you did not believe me. The proof of who I am is revealed by all the miracles that I do in the name of my Father. 26Yet, you stubbornly refuse to follow me, because you are not my sheep. As I’ve told you before: 27My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me. 28I give to them the gift of eternal life and they will never be lost and no one has the power to snatch them out of my hands. 29My Father, who has given them to me as his gift, is the mightiest of all, and no one has the power to snatch them from my Father’s care. 30The Father and I are one.”
31When they heard this, the Jewish leaders were so enraged that they picked up rocks to stone him to death. 32But Jesus said, “My Father has empowered me to work many miracles and acts of mercy among you. So which one of them do you want to stone me for?”
33The Jewish leaders responded, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did—it’s because of your blasphemy! You’re just a son of Adam, but you’ve claimed to be God!”
34Jesus answered, “Isn’t it written in your Scriptures that God said, ‘You are gods?’ The Scriptures cannot be denied or found to be in error. 35So if those who have the message of the Scriptures are said to be ‘gods,’ then why would you accuse me of blasphemy? 36For I have been uniquely chosen by God and he is the one who sent me to you. How then could it be blasphemy for me to say, ‘I am the Son of God!’ 37If I’m not doing the beautiful works that my Father sent me to do, then don’t believe me. 38But if you see me doing the beautiful works of God upon the earth, then you should at least believe the evidence of the miracles, even if you don’t believe my words! Then you would come to experience me and be convinced that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”
39Once again they attempted to seize him, but he escaped miraculously from their clutches. 40Then Jesus went back to the place where John had baptized him at the crossing of the Jordan. 41Many came out to where he was and said about him, “Even though John didn’t perform any miracles, everything he predicted about this man is true!” 42And many people became followers of Jesus at the Jordan and believed in him.