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10. Jesus the Shepherd

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

19There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

22And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 39Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, 40And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. 41And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. 42And many believed on him there.

24. The Jews therefore surrounded him. This was undoubtedly a cunning attack on Christ, at least on the part of those with whom the scheme originated. For the common people might, without any fraud, desire that Christ would openly declare that God had sent him to be a deliverer; but a few persons, by trick and stratagem, wished to draw this word from him amidst the crowd, that he might be killed by a mob, or that the Romans might lay hands on him.

How long dost thou keep our soul in suspense? By complaining of being kept in suspense, they pretend that they are so ardently desirous of the promised redemption, that their minds are eagerly and incessantly occupied by the expectation of Christ. And this is the true feeling of piety, to find nowhere else than in Christ alone, what will satisfy our minds, or give them true composure; as he himself says,

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you, and your souls shall find rest,
(Matthew 11:28, 29.)

Therefore, those who come to Christ ought to be prepared in the same manner as those men pretend to be. But they are wrong in accusing Christ, as if he had not hitherto confirmed their faith; for it was entirely their own fault that they had not a full and perfect knowledge of him. But this is always the case with unbelievers, that they choose rather to remain in doubt than to be founded on the certainty of the word of God. Thus, in our own day, we see many who voluntarily shut their eyes, and spread the clouds of their doubt, in order to darken the clear light of the Gospel. We see also many light spirits, who fly about in idle speculations, and never find, throughout their whole life, a permanent abode.

Tell us plainly. When they demand that Christ shall declare himself freely, or openly and boldly, their meaning is, that he may no longer convey his meaning indirectly, and in a circuitous manner. Thus they charge his doctrine with obscurity, which, on the contrary, was abundantly plain and distinct, if the men who heard it had not been deaf. Now this history warns us, that we cannot avoid the artifices and slanders of wicked men, if we are called to preach the Gospel. Wherefore, we ought to be on the watch, and not to be surprised at it as a new thing, when the same thing happens to us as to our Master.


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