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John 10:1-10

The Word of God

‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:1-10
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The 'I am' sayings of Jesus in the fourth gospel are very significant. 'I am … the bread of life … the living water … the light of the world' etc. They indicate to us Jesus' divine status, since God himself (when asked his name by Moses) declared: I AM WHO I AM. The pictures and images which Jesus uses show us the face of God.
    • This is true of the image used here. When Jesus says he is the 'gate' of the sheepfold, his listeners will be aware that God is presented as a shepherd in the Old Testament- most famously, in Psalm 23. The ideal of a good, caring shepherd is even more vivid, when we are told that the custom was for the shepherd himself to sleep crouched at the entrance of the sheepfold- in other words, the watchful shepherd was, literally, the 'gate'.
    • The lovely phrase, found only in John's gospel, that Jesus 'has come so that we might have life and have it to the full', is very attractive. We have here a picture of total freedom, together with total security; really, a New Testament version of Psalm 23, where the sheep wants for absolutely nothing, and who is followed, for its whole life, by goodness and mercy.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus uses rich images from daily life to illustrate the depth of his desired relationship with us. On the one side, Jesus speaks of shepherd and sheep, gatekeeper and gate, pasture and life, recognition and salvation. The contrasting words are: strangers, thieves and bandits, killing and stealing, running away in fear instead of following, climbing in rather than walking through the open gate.
    • The people do not understand the parable, so the Lord explains it: all must come through him to obtain true life. We could reflect on what it is or who it is that prevents us following the Lord.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • What lifts your spirit, satisfies your soul, gives you lasting peace and fills you with life? What seems to be just the right fit for you? These are moments that come from the presence of Christ in you.
    • On the other hand what drains you, steals your energy, leaves you lifeless and empty, kills your spirit, treats you like a statistic rather than a unique person? These are moments indicative of the thief, the enemy of our human nature.
    • The American Indians tell their children that deeply embedded in our hearts are two wolves each wanting to kill the other. The Child is meant to ask “And who wins”? The parent wisely answers 'the one you feed the most'.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • A good way to start my prayer is to settle down and become quiet, and then to listen as Jesus calls me by my name. Jesus is very personal. Think of his meeting with Mary of Magdala near the tomb on the first Easter Sunday and how softly he speaks the word ‘Mary!’
    • He loves me as he loved her, and he speaks my name with overflowing tenderness. My name in fact is written on the palms of his hands. (See Isaiah 49:16). I can imagine myself prising his hands open and discovering that it’s true! There I am, in print!
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Our prayer trains us to recognise the voice of our good shepherd. We learn to distinguish the voice of the Lord from the other voices that appeal to us. Our cultures speak to us in authoritative ways, advertisers do everything they can to make their message compelling, national identities flatter and it is easy for us to be lured away to another flock.
    • The tone of voice makes all the difference. Truth can be offered in a way which invites or can be heard as being harsh and unwelcome. I consider how Jesus speaks to me, calling me to growth and life. Is this how I speak to others? To myself?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus uses rich images from daily life to illustrate the depth of his desired relationship with us. On the one side, he speaks of shepherd and sheep, gatekeeper and gate, pasture and life, recognition and salvation. The contrasting words are: strangers, thieves and bandits, killing and stealing, running away in fear instead of following, climbing in rather than walking through the open gate.
    • Lord, let me hear your voice, so that I may open the gate of my heart for you. Draw me to the pathways of life. May others then see me as a safe gateway leading to abundant life.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

    Active
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    • ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
    • So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.