10 “What I’m about to tell you Pharisees is true. What if someone does not enter the sheep pen through the gate but climbs in another way? That person is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him. The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own sheep, he goes on ahead of them. His sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they will run away from him. They don’t recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus told this story. But the Pharisees didn’t understand what he was telling them. 7 So Jesus said again, “What I’m about to tell you is true. I am like a gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers. But the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I’m like a gate. Anyone who enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out. And they will find plenty of food. 10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they may have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when the hired man sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired man. He does not care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. 15 They know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I give my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this sheep pen. I must bring them in too. They also will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I give up my life. But I will take it back again. 18 No one takes it from me. I give it up myself. I have the authority to give it up. And I have the authority to take it back again. I received this command from my Father.” 19 The Jews who heard these words could not agree with one another. 20 Many of them said, “He is controlled by a demon. He has gone crazy! Why should we listen to him?” 21 But others said, “A person controlled by a demon does not say things like this. Can a demon open the eyes of someone who is blind?”
Today we see leadership models like CEO’s, Kings, Prime Minister’s, Presidents – but in Jesus day the notion of the leader was akin to a shepherd, read Ezekiel 34 for more insight. Shepherds knew their flocks, they would lay their life down for their sheep, protecting them. Their motives were for others not for themselves or the bottom line.
There is much to learn from this style of leadership – selfless leadership gives life and hope, it empowers, emboldens, and believes the best of others and gives great strength. Jesus came with a radically different model to life than most, both at His time and in ours. We do well to listen to and heed His voice in life and leadership. Sum may say, ‘but you don’t understand my world’ – perhaps I don’t but one thing is for sure Jesus does. So give working in the opposite spirit to the money and power hungry models of leadership that this world presents and try Jesus’ style – go on give it a go – you will be surprised by the results. This is the life of faith He calls us to!
Father give us the strength of character and the courage of heart to live like Jesus in every situation.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta