I Am the Gate for the Sheep

Open Your Bible

John 10:1-10, Numbers 27:15-17, Psalm 118:1-29, Ezekiel 34:25-31

Sheep don’t know a gate from a fence row. As a midwestern sheep farmer, I can tell you this for certain. A recent run-in with a wayward sheep proves my point. Because the proverbial grass is always greener on the other side, our sheep are constantly stretching their necks to try to nibble the grass outside the fence. Occasionally, one will barrel through the wire to get to the “good stuff” she’s been denied.

So it was that we discovered one of our sheep outside the pen one hot day this summer. The solution should have been easy. We simply opened the gate. But due to stubbornness or oblivion, the ewe remained outside the fold. We called and whooped, summoning her back to the comfort and safety of her flock. Instead, she kept ramming herself into the fence. Time and time again. The gate was wide open, but she defaulted to futile attempts to make her own way.

Creation is constantly teaching us (Romans 1:20), and when it comes to revealing who Jesus is, sheep are especially good instructors. No wonder Jesus frequently asked us to envision sheep pens as He revealed His identity as “the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7). Long before Jesus spoke these words, David, once a shepherd, saw the character of the Lord (and his own identity) illustrated through his flock: “The LORD is my shepherd; I have what I need” (Psalm 23:1).

The theme woven throughout Scripture is this: we are like sheep, prone to wander from the fold in search of false hope that can never fully satisfy. Because our Shepherd is good, the gate to salvation is open, but we’ll never find it on our own. We try to be self-sufficient, to do all the good deeds, and we may even convince ourselves for a time that we’ve got our stuff together more than someone else. But the reality is, when left to our own devices, we will just keep ramming ourselves up against false hope and good intentions.

Jesus shows us the gate—no, actually, Jesus is the gate. He is the way. Listen for His call. Submit to His leading. Quit stubbornly ramming yourself up against your own plans. Instead, look to Jesus and enter in. He whispers to us, “I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

(40) Comments

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40 thoughts on "I Am the Gate for the Sheep"

  1. Rachael Davis says:

    What a perfect example of human – ness and why we desperately need a Savior!

  2. mercy says:

    I am thankful for this devotion and the side notes of real-life example that the writer described. Sheep could be destructive too, not just naïve. So was I- when left alone on my own course. Broad is the way that leads to destruction. When having no guidance, tossed by every waves of doctrines, vain philosophies and lifestyles of the world, going with the flow seemingly is like a safe choice for most. BUT IT IS NOT! I see this as a warning not to go with the flow, but to follow the voice of God.

    “If anyone enters by Jesus, he will be saved and go in and out, and FIND pasture” (food). I love how this verse accounts for wiggle room, to explore under the supervision of the Shepherd.

    But small is the gate and NARROW AND DIFFICULT to travel is the path that leads the way to everlasting life, and there are FEW who find it (Matthew 7:14).

    With His help, may we all be able to navigate successfully through this narrow and difficult path. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

  3. morgan kiblen says:


  4. Chandra Freeman says:

  5. Connie Rogers says:

    This time of waiting that we all are going through brings today’s verses a new meaning. The pandemic has restricted us, but I’ve found these restrictions have really brought freedom to me. No makeup, no time restraints, and no planner to keep up with has left time to just rest in my identity in Christ Jesus and in his protection that is so comforting. I am enjoying time in his green pastures.