Today’s passage: John 10:7-18
You’ve probably already noticed: the Bible isn’t all ice cream and roller skates. To be honest, sometimes as I read and write for this blog, the chocolate I eat with it is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. But this passage? This passage reads like a chocolate slab.
It’s pretty clear what Jesus means when he characterizes himself as the good shepherd; we all know what a shepherd is, and what makes a good one. But when Jesus calls himself the “door of the sheep,” the meaning may not be immediately clear unless you know a bit about first-century shepherding practices. The sheepfold was often enclosed by a tall stone wall, perhaps circular, with a narrow sheep-sized break in the wall. You know what, let’s get a picture up in here.
See that gap? When the shepherd brought in the sheep for the night, he would sit himself down and sleep in that gap. He was the door. He’d put himself between the sheep and any potential dangers; if a thief wanted to come in to steal and kill and destroy, he’d have to go through the shepherd first.
Once again, Jesus emphasizes that his message isn’t just for the Jewish nation. He says:
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. (16)
The protection and pasture that Jesus offers are not just for one select group. The Messiah is in the business of growing his flock. All you have to do, says Jesus, is hear his voice and join the fold. And that’s good news.
Today’s chocolate: more Madecasse. Sheep got their grass, I’ve got my chocolate.