The question that the disciples faced as they travelled far from their homelands in order to preach the Gospel is the same question that that the Jews ask of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading: Who are you? In the case of the disciples of the Lord who preach in Jesus’s name, they soon come to be known as Christians, first in Antioch and then everywhere else they travel. But for the Jews who enquire of Jesus, the answer is one that they simply cannot accept. They do not have the hearts of sheep but of wolves, and so the identity of the Good Shepherd eludes them and they remain outside his fold. They remain in suspense, perhaps circling the fold, unable to avoid the intense attraction that Jesus has for them and yet also unwilling to accept the only gate that provides them a way to enter into the life of the Father.
Perhaps we too are like those who are sadly held in suspense, who put off til later the possibility of knowing Jesus more intimately than we could as mere outside observers. Perhaps we truly do want to be insiders, who know Jesus for who he is and who get to come inside from the cold and isolation of our doubts and suspicions about who we are and who Jesus is. Jesus is always offering such a way into greater understanding and fullness of life, if only we allow our suspicions that he is the Christ to win our hearts and make us Christians like the early disciples.