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All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly [fully]… I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me (John 10:8-10,14).

These bold words spoken by Jesus were like words found in Ezekiel (34:23; 37:24). Ezekiel had spoken during dark days of Jewish slavery in Babylon. Many leaders then (as now) thought only of their own gain. They used and hurt people under them. Through Ezekiel God promised to send His “one Shepherd” who would truly care for His people. 600 years later Jesus came as the one Shepherd. All others who claimed to be that one Shepherd were false and harmful. Jesus would gather together all God’s scattered people “So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16 and 11:52).

Jesus’ life was all about caring for people and bringing them back to God. He especially spent time helping those who knew they were held by sin and shame. The Pharisees complained,

“This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).

In reply Jesus showed how He is like a shepherd. He does not want one sheep (one person) to be left in danger. Even if only one sheep is lost, He keeps searching for that one until He finds it (Luke 15:1-7). What about very bad people who have wanted to leave God? Jesus told a parable showing that God is like a father. The father watches for his child who has gone away into a life of sin. When the child comes home, the father welcomes him with open arms (Luke 15:11-24).

Shortly after saying this, Jesus visited a chief tax-collector called Zacchaeus. Many people hated Zacchaeus. Forgetting that they themselves were also sinful people, they complained, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner’” (Luke 19:7). Jesus showed Zacchaeus how to change his heart and life. He said,

“Today salvation has come to this house.…For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

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