The voice: shepherds, robbers and sheep

I AM the Good Shepherd2Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. 2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.    3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. 7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came (before me) are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

Commentary Moloney [301] outlines this narrative by the following schema:

  • 9:39-41: Introduction. Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees (among whom there is a division) and he condemns them for their blind ignorance
  • 10:1-6: Jesus tells a parable about entering the sheepfold and the Pharisees cannot understand. This section is marked with the unique, “Amen, Amen…
  • 10:7-13: Jesus contrasts himself, the door and the Good Shepherd, with others who are thieves, robbers and hirelings. This section is also introduced with “Amen, Amen…
  • 10:14-18: Jesus the Good Shepherd, out of union with the Father, lays down his life for the sheep
  • 10:19-21: Conclusion: A division among “the Jews.”

Continue reading

The voice: context

good-shepherd- iconJohn 10:1–10 1 “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.   3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. 7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came (before me) are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. Continue reading

Who could love us?

I AM the Good Shepherd3[Note: I am away on vacation! I though I would repost this – it seemed to fit the readings for today] 

I suspect that most of us here share a fundamental experience with sheep. First we confuse lambs and sheep. Most of us think about lambs who seem wonderfully cute, are gentle of spirit, and how can you not love them? I mean, really. And our experience is mostly limited to the petting zoo/farm context. I suspect that as children we turned to our moms and said: “Mom can we have one? I promise to feed him and take care of him….. please…!!”

I assume most of us here share another attribute – we are all city slickers, urban folk, and suburbanites. Which are all good things… but does not necessarily give us great insight into the lives of sheep or shepherds. Continue reading

The gate and the shepherd

I AM the Good Shepherd3So Jesus said again… It is evident to Jesus that the disciples do not understand, so Jesus offers another explanation. Commentaries have long asked how we are to understand the relationship between vv.1-6 and vv.7-18. Are the latter verses making an allegorical explanation to the already presented parable? The problem with such a view is that characters and imagery has changed. In any case, few people seem to believe that if vv.7-18 are a clarifying or additional explanation, it likely was not any more effective.

But some see that a change of scene/place is implied (from “driven out…walks ahead…follow). Whereas the opening verses were within the village: the courtyards and narrow streets on to which they opened. Now the setting is the open country into which the shepherd led the sheep for grazing, and where in the summer months shepherd and sheep might spend the night. Overnight the sheep were placed in roughly constructed round stone-walled enclosures. The top of the dry-stone wall was covered with thorns to keep out wild animals. Inside the enclosure the sheep were safe so long as the entrance was secured by the shepherd. He slept across the entrance as there was no door and no doorkeeper. Continue reading

The gate: shepherds, robbers and sheep

I AM the Good Shepherd2Commentary Moloney [301] outlines this narrative by the following schema:

  • 9:39-41: Introduction. Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees (among whom there is a division) and he condemns them for their blind ignorance
  • 10:1-6: Jesus tells a parable about entering the sheepfold and the Pharisees cannot understand. This section is marked with the unique, “Amen, Amen…
  • 10:7-13: Jesus contrasts himself, the door and the Good Shepherd, with others who are thieves, robbers and hirelings. This section is also introduced with “Amen, Amen…
  • 10:14-18: Jesus the Good Shepherd, out of union with the Father, lays down his life for the sheep
  • 10:19-21: Conclusion: A division among “the Jews.”

Continue reading

The gate: context

good-shepherd- iconJohn 10:1–10 1 “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.   3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. 7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came (before me) are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. Continue reading