Unlike all those scoundrels who are out to ruin lives, I came to give life -- indeed, life richer and fuller than anyone can imagine. 11 You might even say that “I am the GOOD shepherd -- the kind of shepherd who sacrifices his life for the well being of the sheep.
12-13 “Minimum wage shepherds turn and run when they see a wolf coming -- leaving the sheep to fend for themselves. That’s because they aren’t invested in the flock. The sheep don’t really belong to them so they don’t care very much. The wolf attacks the sheep and the survivors are scattered.
14 “Again -- I am the GOOD shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me. 15 Our relationship is akin to that which the Father and I have together. I give up my life for the sheep.
16 Of course, I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I am leading them, too. There will be a united flock that includes all the sheep which recognize my voice. One flock -- one shepherd.
17 “The Father’s love in me is expressed in the way that I am sacrificing my life -- this sets things up so that I can live again. 18 I do this voluntarily. No one is forcing me or taking my life from me. I have divine authority to give up my life, and the Father gives me the same authority (indeed, the mandate!) to restore life to myself.”
19 Jesus’ words divided the Jewish crowd again. 20 Many of them were saying, “A demon has taken over his life. He’s totally lost his mind. Who cares what he says?”
21 Yet, others protested, “He doesn’t sound like a demonic! Can a demon heal the eyes of the blind?”
22-23 Winter arrived in Jerusalem. During the Hanukkah celebration, Jesus was walking in the area of the Temple called Solomon’s Porch. 24 His opponents from among the Jewish leaders encircled him and demanded, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the anointed one -- the Christ, just come out and say it.”
25 Jesus answered, “I've already told you what you need to know -- but you still don’t believe! Certainly, all that I've done on behalf of my Father shows you everything you need to know about me. 26 Yet -- you remain unbelievers. And that's because you don’t belong to my flock. 27 My sheep recognize my voice and follow me. So, I know them. 28 And I give them eternal life. They will be never be lost; nor will they be snatched from me. 29 I mean, think about it -- if my Father who has given these sheep to me is greater than anything or anyone, no one is powerful enough to grab them out of his hands. 30 I and the Father are together on this -- totally united.”