(Homily revised for Easter 4, 2011 by Rev. John Gishler)
Jesus is using a very simple example to explain who he is.It is called a "parable" because while the story seems to be about the relationship between sheep and shepherds, it is only using this to explain the relationship between God and people. In particular it is about the question of how do we know when God is really speaking to us. The point is that there are other voices speaking to us:
· Self – my way
Jesus refers to these other voices as "thieves and robbers". The parable is also a warning about spiritual warfare. The good news is that the wise sheep (people) will survive spiritually because they know the voice of the shepherd and can tell it from the many other voices around them.