A glimpse

… into a personal conversation with a friend … He wrote:

hey brian
how are you healing btw?
i was wondering if you could help me understand this in terms of whether jesus was being exclusive?
i mean in my hebrew studies the sheep were israel, and also the word mean ‘to journey’ (rachel) and it seems if he ever was exclusive it was toward the ‘religious elite’; would you say thats going on here? is there space for pluralism?
would love to get your thoughts?? a HUGE thanks bro!

I responded …


I’m feeling better and better – almost 100%, thanks be to God.
A couple things.
1. Remember – he’s not saying “I’m the gate to go to heaven.” In fact, that wouldn’t make sense because the sheep go in AND out to find pasture!
2. Being in the fold is being safe. A big issue when everyone wants war against Rome, and Rome is a constant threat.
3. Coming through him means accepting his nonviolent way … rejecting the ways of the zealots (who propose violence against rome), herodians (who side with Rome for law and order), etc. he lays down his life – doesn’t take the lives of others, and doesn’t let them take his.
4. To make this make some sense … imagine a spiritual leader arising and saying these words in Afghanistan today … offering abundant life in the midst of chaos and danger.
let me know how that helps or doesn’t help – b

He wrote back:

oh i see so the coming through is a taking on a lifestyle ethic? rather than the traditional ‘in and out’ rhetoric. i really like that Brian. So the to-ing and fro-ing would that be the space for ‘plurality’ if anything?
REALLY good to hear your doing well bro. That is amazing…

I responded:

The shepherd doesn’t take you to a faraway land where there are no wolves. The shepherd helps you live “life to the full” in a dangerous land. That, for me, is a key issue when reading John 10. But that old Greco Roman 6 line soul-sort narrative obscures all that … sheesh.