Jn 10:1-10 (or Jn 10:11–18)
Truly, I say to you, anyone who does not enter the sheep-fold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the shepherd of the sheep enters by the gate. The keeper opens the gate to him and the sheep hear his voice; he calls each of his sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but rather they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize a stranger’s voice.
Jesus used this comparison, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, I am the gate of the sheep. All who came were thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not hear them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved; he will go in and out freely and find food. The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, life in all its fullness.”
Except for lamb (less than one year old) and mutton meat (over one year of age) supply, wool and milk, sheep are frowned upon. Why? A sheep person is considered a no-question-asking follower, a “yes-man.” Sheep are powerless, defenseless and preyed upon by wolves and other predators. They are fearful, easily get frustrated and hungry. The shepherd leads the sheep with a staff as well as a sheepdog for guidance. Sheep must be told what to do and where to go or else they’ll wander off and get lost; they will die of starvation if they fell and not helped by the shepherd. Indeed, of all livestock they need the most care.
Jesus’ ways are not man’s ways. Jesus made use of the sheep’s negative traits for positive results. As his sheep, we are enjoined to have those positive traits: to be a “yes-man” and unquestioning love for him, as he is towards his Father. He knows we are powerless and easily burdened by anxieties and temptations, so he leads us to a holy ground, as a True Shepherd does. Someone said that if you cannot sleep, stop counting sheep, talk to the Shepherd, and he will give you rest!
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