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
BY Erin Davis
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).