I am the Gate for the Sheep


"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger's voice." Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:1-10 (ANIV)

Jesus, you said, 'I am the gate for the sheep’

The way to the place of peace and security.

And you offer fullness of life.

Son of God, protect us.

"Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them."

You think? In this chapter which we return to tomorrow for the next "I am" saying of Jesus, Jesus would have got low marks for clear communication if he were being examined... although it is him at his poetic best... weaving together multiple images drawn from the life of a shepherd and his sheep. There has been a lot of discussion over the years about the background to this saying of Jesus… Many have suggested that it finds its origin in shepherds actually lying across the gap in the crude wall of stones that marked out a sheep pen then and now in Palestine… Actually protecting the sheep with his body… Whether or not this is the origin, the key here is not just the gate, but what that gate allows access to… and that the pen is not a permanent residence, just a stopping off place in the hours of darkness, where a sheep’s wounds can be tended, and they can get some rest before the next day’s foraging begins.


REFLECTION

“I am…” says Jesus…

“I am the gate for the sheep…”

I am the gate

You are the sheep

On the other side lies safety

And food for the night

But the last day has not yet come

The night has not finally fallen

The gate is not yet permanently closed

This pen is not a prison

I have come that you should have life like you’ve never known it before

Full to overflowing…

Go wander the world in knowledge that this gate is open to you

A place of security in the darkness

Come and go

In response to the shepherd’s call

Come to be fed and tended to Go and tell others what you have found in me

For this sheep pen is big enough to hold all who would come

This gate is broad enough to allow all safely through

No grid to catch out those who are unwary

No crush to get in before it’s too late

But I am the gate…

I am THE Gate…

Fashioned from wood and nails…

I am…


PRAYER

Lord Jesus

Gate for the Sheep

We thank you for the security we find in you and in you alone…

But we ask your forgiveness for those times when we have hidden away safely behind the walls of the sheep-pen instead of walking the world in your name…

Lord Jesus

Gate for the Sheep

We thank you for the fullness of life that you offer…

But forgive us that all too often we settle for half measures or less, thinking that eternal life is for the hereafter rather than here and now…

Lord Jesus

Gate for the Sheep

We pray for those who feel that they are not so much living as existing…

And for those who feel vulnerable and alone at this time, even when they are surrounded by othersMay they find the fullness of life and the eternal security that you offer to all…

AMEN

Selah

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