“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?”
Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Know His voice. Deception occurs when we listen to other voices. “…follow him, for they know his voice. …will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus states he is the door to the fold, the community that belongs to him. He is the entry to a relationship with the Creator and provides the access to become a member of that community. He is also the shepherd who lays down his life for them. That death and resurrection provided the means for entry into this community. So he is both the entry and the means. This is a community that welcomes all who would come through the gate. ” I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” Only those He knows are a part of this community and in that sense it is exclusionary, but; “…other sheep I have …they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd….” He speaks here of the first flock, Israel, and others, Gentile combining to become one flock with a commonality of a share relationship with the Creator possible through entry and means provided by Jesus.
What meaning does this have for us? He has provided for us the entry and means for a right relationship with God. One that follows his commands and permits the free flow of love between Creator and created. The barrier that sin built is removed. Living in this community has the attributes of the sheep fold and pen. It has community and fellowship that provides for the social needs. It has a shepherd who provides and protects and in that place gives peace. The danger of the predator is without the pen in the wild. The shepherd takes his sheep to pasture and living water, feeding them and giving them life. He calls this life abundant or full. Are the predators still about? What of the thief and robber? When we know the voice of the shepherd we are given the assurance that we remain in the community. …”If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly….” Know His voice, follow Him, continue in His way; this is what is needed for the life he promises. Our investment is in Him, not in each other, we stand side by side, not in the thief who would destroy, not in the wolf who would scatter, only and always in Him, the Good Shepherd. We are his, he is ours…all is well.