Parables of Jesus


Parables of joy

The good shepherd.

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The good shepherd

From the Gospel of John Chapter 10, Verses 1-10

Truly, truly, I say to you: whoever does not enter the sheep pen from the door, but goes up to another place, is a thief or a robber. But whoever enters the door is the Shepherd of the sheep. The guardian opens him and the sheep listen to his voice: He calls his sheep by name and leads them out. And when he has brought out all his sheep, he walks in front of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. Instead a stranger will not follow Him, but they will run away from Him, because they do not know the voice of the strangers. "Jesus gave them this example; but they did not understand what it meant what He said to them. Then Jesus said to them again: "Verily in truth I say to you: I am the door of the sheep. All those who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the door: if anyone enters through me, he will be saved; will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy; I have come because they have life and have it in abundance.

John Parable exegesis

The text corresponds to Chapter 10 of John, in which Jesus presents himself with words of royalty: "I am the door, if one does not pass through me, he does not enter the fold". In Chapter 9 Jesus discusses the blindness with the Pharisees and ends with the healing of a blind man. This healing is commented by the Pharisees saying: "Are we also blind?" and Jesus does not hesitate to answer them: "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but as you say: We see, your sin remains" (Jn 9, 40-41). The narration continues in the next chapter, suggesting that they still do not understand: once again the theme of blindness is highlighted and the emblematic role of Jesus who in this context gives light, restores sight, defeats that blindness represented here by those who pretend to enter the fence through other parts "whoever does not enter the door is a thief or a bandit" and who claim in their blindness to lead you to God, without knowing him.

"Whoever enters the door is the Shepherd of the sheep, the sheep recognize him and he leads them". Ultimately Jesus claims to be both the door and the Good Shepherd, and only if one enters through him will he be saved. The meaning of the concept of the door is the knowledge of God; Pharisees, scribes and priests have the presumption of the knowledge of God, but they do not really have it: they replace it with their own, interpreting the commandments in their own way. This is why Jesus defines the Pharisees and scribes as brigand thieves, because they deluded the people and did not direct them towards the knowledge of God, because they did not love the sheep and led them to perdition by dispersing them away from the fold. Looking at the crowds Jesus had compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd, they were guided by those who had not entered through the door: only those who enter the truth become the shepherd, that's why it reveals that it is the door and therefore the Truth that is able to lead the sheep to the Father. Jesus insistently presents himself: "I am the door", I have the truth in God, you must go through Me because I am the one who has the truth, "I am the truth, the way, the life".

The evangelist John, with this testimony of Jesus, underlines that entering through the door means entering into the knowledge of God, entering into the fold where there are the other sheep led by the Shepherd. This presence of the Shepherd guarantees full possession of the truth, otherwise the sheep are not saved, as it is only the truth that can save. And here John introduces another theme: what do the sheep do? They are led to pasture by the Shepherd, so the Shepherd is there for them and for their well-being. In this way, John asserts that the well-being of man can only derive from the truths of God, which means having the certainty of his presence. Here then it is revealed that the well-being of man begins in the perception of the presence of God; in fact the sheep are led to the pastures and that "conduct" means that their well-being is not represented in itself by the pastures, but by the fact of being brought, accompanied, guided and knowing that the Shepherd is doing it. It can be said that the source of this well-being is based on the comforting security that the shepherd will never leave you, because He is a faithful Shepherd.

Let us all feel like sheep waiting for the Shepherd, because surrounded by thieves and robbers who distract us from the truth and cannot lead us to the certainties of God, we cannot lose the guide and the door that leads us back to the fold. We must ask for the grace to recognize the true Shepherd, the one who knows us by name; we must entrust ourselves to Jesus: only in this way will absolute certainty and security arise that will give us the strength to face any difficulty. Nothing can distract us from this certainty, that for us the only support is Jesus.