“I assure you: Anyone who doesn't enter the sheep pen by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don't recognize the voice of strangers.”
Jesus is the Truth incarnated. Because of this any person who still had a spark of truth deep within him experienced an immediate resonance with the words Jesus brought. They followed him with a clear and audible connection as sheep follow with confidence their shepherd.
With this connection the small truth they possessed within them gathers force as light of burning ash glows stronger when blown by the wind. Jesus said: “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37). Whoever does not have this spark of Truth deep inside cannot recognize anymore the shepherd's voice and will be misled and captured by thieves.
The good shepherd calls sheep by name and conducts them through the gate. Everyone that crosses the gate to life i.e. who assimilates Jesus' Words and begins to live according to their content is automatically guided out of the labyrinth to find eternal life.
Jesus clarifies the difference between the good shepherd and the thief as follows:
“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
And He shows that whoever lives according to His words will obtain eternal life:
“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.”
With His Word Jesus showed the road for his sheep to attain eternal life. When He says that “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” this means that this good shepherd is putting his life at stake so his sheep do not go astray from the right path showed to them, making them understand the profound necessity to live in compliance with the Will of God so that they could finally find their own salvation. This is also stated in the phrase: “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The shepherd's death itself will never redeem any sheep. On the contrary, if they are not firmly on the road showed by him who died, they will indeed be lost and will be driven by false shepherds, the thieves, whose intent is only to rob, destroy and kill.
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