The Good Shepherd


John points to Jesus as the exclusive solution for mankind denying any validity to others.
Yet it is manifestly untrue that good people only responded, and respond, to Jesus
In fact many thought that he was crazy, as we can read elsewhere in the bible.
As usual the preacher, or in this case author, has stretched the truth to make his point.
As John writes elsewhere (Jn 20:31), "these things are written so that you may believe".
He has an agenda!

The writings in the New Testament are not a faithful report of what Jesus said and did.
This is particularly true in John's case as he is writing so long after the event.
There has been time for legends to develop and become memories,
for memories to become embellished by the theories of the day,
swayed by current doctrine.

John points to Jesus as the Gate, not to eternal existence, but to living a full life
for his way is the way of the Kingdom of God here, on earth.
"I come that you may have life, and have it abundantly".
Salvation is the coming of God's Kingdom, here.

Many now Salvation as a personal thing, after death,
yet Salvation for the world, even if not for individuals,
must lie in the world becoming what God intends it to be.
The words of Jesus show us a more embracing vision than that of today.
We have been swayed by doctrine oriented to another agenda,
driven by the needs of those in positions of power.

Jesus did not shirk from defending his position through death.
He laid down his life in the service of his sheep, not being here to be served but to serve.
John contrasts this with the attitude of the professional cleric whose main focus is his pay packet,
his position or the size of his congregation, even his salvation; an attitude which has not gone away.
He calls them wolves, who prey on the people.

It is surely true that the effect of self-centred leadership is divisive.
The sheep, today, are scattered, and it must be the wolves that have scattered them.
This parable can be seen as an utter condemnation of the schismatic church,
each wolf proclaiming himself as the true, exclusive, shepherd
whilst hiding his true nature even from himself.

In passing John reports that Jesus has other sheep from another pen,
maybe those who follow the way of Jesus without the background of Judaism.
Could this also be a call to respect all forms of true spirituality?
Could this be a call to a less constrained spirituality?