He Calls His Sheep by Name
1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” 6-10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Jesus, You are the only way. All our hopes and fears and dreams are only meaningful in You. If we aren’t following You, we are surely headed for destruction. Nothing matters if You aren’t there. Life is no life at all without You.
But with You, there is hope. There is light, life has some meaning. Peace is possible when we are following You. Jesus, please help me to follow You. You know my world is chaos right now. I need Your peace.
11-13“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.
Jesus, You are the good shepherd. I know You came to serve, all the way to death. Now I need to be the shepherd of my family. I need to follow Your example. I need to give my life for them. I need to serve them. Help me lord to lay aside my hopes and dreams and to give to You and to them. Help me to be like You Lord. Change me.
14-18“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”
Jesus, help me to lay down my life for others. Your concern while You walked the earth was always for others. You were a complete servant, to the point of death. Help me to do the same. Help me to freely lay down my life (my wants, my hopes, my needs) so I can serve others.
19-21This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, “He’s crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?” But others weren’t so sure: “These aren’t the words of a crazy man. Can a ‘maniac’ open blind eyes?”
22-24They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon’s Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you’re the Messiah, tell us straight out.”
25-30Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.”
Jesus, these are words of great comfort. Help me to no become complacent because of this promise. Help me to never take my salvation for granted. But help me to remember Your promise to never lose me and to rest in that promise. I it just one less thing to worry about!
31-32Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?”
33The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.”
34-38Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”
Jesus, help me to see Your action in my life. Help me please. I need to be inspired. Things have not been well and I feel like I’m losing my peace and my faith. Open my eyes and heart Lord. Help me see Your action. Please Lord. I am sorry to ask for a sign like this. I know it is wrong. I know I don’t deserve it. Help me Lord. Help me.
39-42They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, “John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true.” Many believed in him then and there.