“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
Many read this passage and immediately wax theological in a Christian sense. Yet the audience that Jesus spoke to was very Jewish. It begs the question of what Jesus means when he uses this metaphor and why he calls himself the door of the sheep. Firstly it seems that the sheepfold is not a reference to spiritual things like heaven or eternal life as thieves and robbers find a way to enter it. It does seem to indicate something fleshly though. Perhaps a place were a mixture of religious and spiritual people exist together?
Contrasting such a mixture Jesus says that spiritual sheep are categorized by two things: firstly they hear the voice of the true shepherd; secondly they follow the shepherd OUT of the fold. That second part gives us a glimpse into why Jesus says that he is the door. By saying that the real sheep are led OUT of the sheepfold he is not saying that he is the door in but the door out. Jesus is not about getting into something but getting free from it. He is the door that leads to life. People who follow him find freedom from the confines of the fold.
Life is in you Lord. My life is in you. Help me to hear your voice today.