Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who climbs over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, is a thief and a robber. But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The 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. Then, after he’s gathered his flock together, he goes on ahead, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they would run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he said: “I tell you the truth, I’m the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. Yes, I’m the gate. Whoever enters the sheepfold through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come to give them life – life to the full.
“I’m the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. A hired hand runs away when he sees a wolf coming. He abandons the sheep because they don’t belong to him, so the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t care about the sheep.
“I’m the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and they know me – just as my Father knows me and I know the Father – and I give my life for the sheep. There are other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold and I must bring them in also. They will listen to my voice, so there will be one flock and one shepherd.
“The Father loves me because I give up my life – and then I take it back again. No one takes my life from me. I give it up voluntarily. I have the authority to lay it down and the authority to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why should we listen to him?”
But others said, “He doesn’t speak like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”