Jesus the Gate (16-09-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 42:1-2,5
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.
Bible Reading: John 10:7-10
Jesus said, "Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who have come before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep have not listened to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
They 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.
Walking around the countryside over the years, we have been through many fields and seen many sheep and cattle. The entrance to the fields has varied from five-bar gates to styles, kissing gates and cattle grids, each of them principally designed to keep the animals in and the rustlers out
What we haven’t come across in our rambles is the type of gate Jesus was referring to in our reading. In bible times the sheep would graze freely during the daytime, under the watchful eye of the shepherd, but at night they would be gathered into a sheepfold for safety. This would probably be circular, made out of boulders and stones, with thorns placed around the top. The pen would have a relatively small entrance through which the sheep would go in and out. There would be no gate as such, but at night the shepherd himself would lie down across the entrance, preventing the sheep from wandering out and also preventing thieves or wild animals from going in.
The Greek word, ‘thura’, normally translated as ‘gate’ in John’s gospel, can also be translated ‘entrance’. Jesus is therefore saying that he is both the entrance through which the sheep go into the sheepfold and the gate which keeps them safe once they are there.
In the same way that a gate today provides both the entrance to a field when it is open and protection when it is closed, Jesus is the entrance into God’s Kingdom, the means by which we are saved; he is also our protection once we are part of his flock.
The life that Jesus came to give us is life to the full. It is both a life of freedom and a life of protection. When we follow his ways we are free to enjoy the abundance of his blessings and we are protected from the things that would harm us.
Thank you Jesus that through you I enter the Kingdom of God
And in you I find protection and peace.
As the deer pants for the water