The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 99

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 13

In our last post, we learned that Yeshua Declares His External Existence. In this post, we learn that Yeshua Is the Good Shepherd.

As in our last several posts, Yeshua is still speaking on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah.

The Sheep and Their Shephard

“Yes, indeed! I tell you, the person who doesn’t enter the sheep pen through the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd. This is the one the gatekeeper admits, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out.

He calls his own sheep, each one by name. He is distinguishing them from other sheep in the same fold. The point is that sheep follow the right shepherd.

 After taking out all that are his own, he goes on ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They never follow a stranger but will run away from him because strangers’ voices are unfamiliar to them.” 6 Yeshua used this indirect manner of speaking with them, but they didn’t understand what He was talking to them about.  [1]

They didn’t understand what He was talking to them about. The audience misses the symbolism of the parable. Just as sheep recognize their shepherd and follow him, those who genuinely belong to Yeshua will recognize Him and follow Him.

The Gate for the Sheep

So Yeshua said to them again, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that I am the gate for the sheep.

I am the gate for the sheep. Yeshua is the gateway for eternal life and the one who leads the sheep.

All those who have come before me have been thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.”  [2]

Thieves and robbers highlight the misleading ministry of previous generations of Isra’eli leaders who had led them astray.

Yeshua Is the Good Shepherd

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he isn’t a shepherd and the sheep aren’t his own, sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep, and runs away. Then the wolf drags them off and scatters them. 13 The hired worker behaves like this because that’s all he is, a hired worker, so it doesn’t matter to him what happens to the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know My own, and My own know Me – 15 just as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father – and I lay down My life on behalf of the sheep. 16 Also, I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd.

I have other sheep which are not from this pen, namely, Gentiles, whom Yeshua says He will combine with the Jews into one flock under Himself, the one shepherd. Although at first He sent His talmidim only to “the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el” (Mattityahu 10:5) and spoke of His commission in the same way (Mattityahu 15:24), this limitation applied only to His life before the Resurrection. Moreover, He intimated the coming inclusion of Gentiles when He healed the Roman army officer’s orderly (Mt 8:5–13) and the daughter of the woman from Cana‛an (Mt. 15:22–28), ministered to the woman at the well in Shomron (Yochanan4:1–26), and prophesied that many would come from the east and the west to sit with the Patriarchs (Mt. 8:11) and that some nations (or Gentiles) would be judged favorably (Mt. 25:31–46).

The Tanakh often has the salvation of Gentiles in view; see, for example, Genesis 12:3, 18:14, 22:18, 26:4; Isaiah 11:10, 19:6, 54:1–3, 60:1–3; Hosea 1:10; Amos 9:11; Malachi 1:11; Psalms 72, 87. Sha’ul quotes Isaiah 45:23 in this connection (Philippians 2:10).

17 “This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life – in order to take it up again! 18 No one takes it away from me; on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”  [3]

I lay down my life …. No one takes it away from me: on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. Yeshua was neither the victim nor the perpetrator of any “Pesach plot” but was the fulfiller of God’s eternal plan that the eternal Word (1:1–2) humble Himself by taking human form and dying for the sins of humanity. Yeshua’s several predictions of his impending death for this purpose and Tanakh passages indicating the Messiah would die and be resurrected (Isaiah 53:1–12, Psalm 16:8–11) provide ample proof. I have the power to take it up again. The Father raised Yeshua (Romans 8:11), but according to this verse, Yeshua had the power, even in death, to resurrect Himself.

19 Again, there was a split among the Judeans because of what He said. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon!” and “He’s meshugga (insane)! Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the deeds of a man who is demonized – how can a demon open blind people’s eyes?” [4]

In our next post, we learn that Yeshua’s Ministry Goes from Galilee to Judea.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 10:1–6.
[2]  Yochanan 10:7–10.
[3]  Yochanan 10:11–18.
[4]  Yochanan 10:19–21.

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