Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus – Day 10

Jesus: The Gate.

Bible text(s)

Jesus the Good Shepherd

7So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. 8All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.

John 10:7-10GNBOpen in Bible reader

2The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.

John 10:2-3GNBOpen in Bible reader

13“Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it.

Matthew 7:13GNBOpen in Bible reader

In the verses before the above, Jesus had explained the importance of the gate to the sheep pen. Often several different flocks of sheep would be kept in one pen and the shepherd would go in for his own through the gate. Jesus said, “The man who enters through 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.” (John 10:2-3) If he was not the shepherd the watchman would not allow him in, therefore anyone found in the sheep pen that had not gone through the door, had clearly got in by stealthily climbing over the enclosure and was therefore a thief who could not be trusted.

Who were the robbers that Jesus was talking about? Here it was the false shepherds of the flock of Israel, all those that were like the ones we read of in Isaiah (see Jesus: The Good Shepherd), and the Pharisees of His time, who had led Israel astray; not the people like Moses who had been obedient to God and had fulfilled His mission. The Pharisees were not legitimate because they were hypocrites who professed to love God, but burdened the people with their interpretation of His law. They were not able to recognise Jesus as having been sent by God, in spite of all the great things He was doing, although many of them recognised that what He was performing was miraculous.

The gate is therefore seen as the means of legitimacy; the test of truth or falsehood. When Jesus said that He was the gate, He was showing that He alone was the legitimate way to the Father and that the sheep had to come through Him. They would then receive all that they needed in this life and eternal life after dying. It is emphasized in Matthew 7:13 where Jesus says “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Jesus’ warning still stands. Not everyone is sincerely looking for the truth and, like the Pharisees, many people are more intent on achieving their own ends and receiving rewards than serving God. They enter the sheep pen illegitimately and try to lead the sheep astray. But His true sheep will not be fooled by the voice of deception. They are in the care of the One who came to give them life to the full.

Are you in the care of the Good Shepherd?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
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