1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
This narrative continues immediately on from the end of chapter 9. The Pharisees who have expelled the ‘formerly-blind-man’ from the synagogue/temple are now warned by Jesus. The people only follow them by coercion and threat: anyone believing in Jesus is to be expelled from the temple (Jn 9:22). But, by way of contrast, Jesus’ followers freely and willingly respond to his invitation, just as the ‘formerly-blind-man’ has.
Jesus is entering ‘through the gate’ to call his sheep. He is doing this by openly teaching and attending the temple. There is no subterfuge or deception. There is no coercion and no threats.
Not for the first time, the Pharisees don’t understand what Jesus means.
Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you that you have drawn me to follow you, not by force or threat or coercion. Instead, you have graciously revealed yourself to me as the ‘Son of Man’, God’s chosen ruler and saviour. Please, let me follow you all the days of my life.