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.