Mixed Metaphors – John 10:1-18

Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them…. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming…. “ (John 10:7-12, CSB)

When we read John 10 it almost seems like Jesus is mixing His metaphors. First, He says He is the gate for the sheep. Next, He says He is the good shepherd. Then, He says He is not the hired hand that looks after the sheep.

Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus portrayed Himself and His ministry with a number of analogies:

  • I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).
  • “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).
  • “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
  • “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
  • “I am the true vine” (John 15:1, 5).
  • “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). While not an analogy, it is a play on words that the Jews clearly understood in which Jesus equates Himself with the “I AM” title God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14.
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Celestial Security – 2 Kings 6:16

“Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” The army of Syria came by night and surrounded the city of Dotham to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant awoke and saw the army of Syria surrounding the city, he was afraid. Elisha, however, knew that the Lord had sent an army of angels to protect him, and apparently he could see them but his servant could not. So Elisha prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of the servant. When the eyes of Elisha’s servant were opened, he could see a vast angelic army all around Elisha to protect him from the Syrian army. Although the Syrian troops surrounded (vs. 15) the city where Elisha was, Elisha himself is protected all around (vs. 17) by the army of the Lord. Christians have this same celestial security protecting them today. When we are surrounded by the troubles of this world, God Who is in us, is also all around us: “For he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4).