"Thieves and shepherds"

In September 2008, a court convicted Ryan Mueller of burglary. Due to multiple convictions, Mueller received 6 years in the penitentiary along with 5 years probation. Mueller's latest crime happened in the middle of the night when he crept into a family's home under cover of dark and attempted to steal $20 from a toddler's piggy bank.

I don't know Ryan's story, but I'm guessing that by the time you get to the place where you are lifting kids' piggy banks, stealing has become a way of life.

Jesus spoke of a thief whose nature is "to steal and kill and destroy" and contrasts this thief with Himself, who intends to "give [us] a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:10). Jesus used this metaphor as a distinguishing mark between Himself and all false truths or teachers. "I am the gate for the sheep," Jesus said (v.7). However, "all who came before Me were thieves and robbers" (v.8). In an agrarian society where most everyone had someone in the family who made a living tending sheep, Jesus provided an image with immediate resonance.

Often when shepherds were moving their sheep to better pasture, they would stop for the night in a place where there was a stone (or hedged) wall to protect the sheep. The shepherd would sleep in the entrance. His body became the gate that kept the wooly creatures in and kept the wolves out.

"The good shepherd," Jesus said, "sacrifices his life for the sheep" (v.11). On the other hand, "the wolf attacks . . . and scatters the flock" (v.12).

In John's context, the hero and protagonist are clear. Jesus is the life-giving Shepherd. The ravenous, destructive thief is a false teacher following the lead of Satan. Who is the one we will listen to, the thief or the Good Shepherd? , Winn Collier. Our Daily Journey

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