The lectionary gospel readers for the Fourth Sunday of Easter take the three parts of John 10 in turn; being in Year A, we are reading the first ten verses. But this is a good example of where our modern chapter divisions (first created by Stephen Langton, the 13th-century Archbishop of Canterbury who helped to write the Magna Carta) hinder rather than help our reading, for two reasons.
Jesus’ teaching about being the good shepherd is often read as being directed to his disciples, and a cosy and encouraging image. Alternatively, the idea of ‘life in all its fulness’ has been used as a metaphor for universal human flourishing. But the text says something different—when we read it in its first-century context, and within its place in the narrative of the Fourth Gospel.
I previously wrote a more detailed article on the passage Jesus the Shepherd gives life in abundance (John 10). This is my video study of the same passage; I hope you enjoy it!
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