The parable of the Good Shepherd is found only in John’s Gospel and it is the only parable in his Gospel. In the first part of the parable (John 10:1-10), Jesus uses the image of a gate. He is the gate through which the sheep pass. In the second part (John 10:11-18), he uses the image of a shepherd. A good shepherd is one who knows his sheep. Jesus knows all his sheep and they know his voice. He is ready to give his life to protect them. The events of Easter proved that he was a true shepherd of his people. Jesus gave up his life freely so that all people might re-establish their relationship with the Father.
In the Gospel of Luke, the Easter story tells us how the women discover the empty tomb and receive a message from two angels. However, the apostles refused to believe their story (Lk 24:1-12). Two other disciples also experience Jesus on their way to Emmaus as they listen to him explaining the Scriptures and finally recognize him in the breaking of the bread (Lk 24:13-35). As they return to share their experience with the other apostles, Jesus appears to all of them. He assures them that he has really risen, and he give them a new understanding of the Scriptures. It is with this new understanding of the Scriptures that they are sent out to be his witnesses, starting from Jerusalem. Meeting the risen Jesus always conveys a renewed understanding of what it means to be his follower.
Today’s Gospel shows us Jesus appearing to his disciples. They have locked themselves up in Jerusalem because they were afraid of those who had killed Jesus. Jesus appears among them and gives them his peace. Then he sends them as the Father had sent him. Thomas, one of the disciples was not with them and he will not believe that Jesus has really risen until he has given proof by touching Jesus. However, at the end he does not only touch Jesus but confesses him as “My Lord and my God”. It is important to have seen Jesus; but the real believer is the one who has not seen but yet believes in Jesus as Lord and God.