The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
1“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
6Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, 7so he explained it to them:“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”
31Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42And many who were there believed in Jesus.
The NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT)