“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9, NIV)
In the Gospel of John, Jesus has painted a picture for the disciples as the “Good Shepherd.” They (we) were the sheep.
He warns the sheep of the dangers of robbers and predators (see 10:10). But not to worry.
I read about this recently in Margaret Feinberg’s “Scouting the Divine.” At night, after a long day of grazing, shepherds would gather their flock into a wood or stone enclosure. They would often sleep across the openings of the sheepfold, literally guarding the animals from predators or thieves with their own bodies. When Jesus told his disciples “I am the gate,” it is a beautiful picture of him being our protector and provider. He put his own body between us and danger.
Too often, from a sheep’s perspective, we think of fences and closed gates as those things that keep us out of greener grass. But the shepherd knows that there dangers out there: predators, robbers, dangerous things we don’t need to eat. He protects us because he loves us.
When the sun comes up, he’ll lead us to the green grass and quiet waters we need.