I Am The Gate/Door. John 10:1-10
There is nothing that I am going to say today that will change who Jesus is and how he interacts with us, his children. Is there anything that will be said/understood that will change who I am and how I interact with Jesus? Here are some not so random thoughts: People are not drawn to Jesus because we, His sheep, no longer go after him. There are more people worshiping at the ball field this morning than in the churches in America. You do what you value most. You teach your children the values of life not with what you say or post on social media, but by the choices you make for them. I can preach Jesus on my media feed, I can preach with a megaphone in the public space, but what people are really longing to see is someone who is totally submitted to their Shepherd. It goes way beyond being a not so bad person. It is grounded in absolute trust in our Shepherd. This trust demands that every area and aspect of my life is submitted to him, the Good Shepherd.
You might say, “wow, way to go Steve, stir up the controversy!” The “I am” statements of Jesus have always brought controversy. Today, there are many “theologians” that will tell you that Jesus never said these things about himself, rather, his followers later on attributed sayings to him that he would have never espoused. In John 8:58 we see that Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” The reaction of the people was immediately to stone him.
Today we look at Jesus as the Shepherd. This is really a two part sermon in which we will first look at Jesus as the “Gate”, and later as the “Good Shepherd”.
It is noisy this time of year at our sheep farm. We are weaning and nobody is extremely happy with the shepherds right now, but we are trying to be good shepherds. We have learned much in these last four years, enough to know that there are quite a few fairly bogus stories out there about sheep. So I have done as much research as possible right now on this concept of the gate…but let’s talk about sheep for a minute.
Sheep, by nature are skittish and some extremely so. (example or two) Why? Flight is their only real defense. Contrary to popularized pulpit stories, sheep cannot truly bite for they lack upper front teeth. Sheep do not kick like a horse or cow. They can head butt. Their only real defense other than flight is a shepherd. Thus, trust is mandatory. Sheep must submit to the shepherd’s care. (because He loves us perfectly!!) A relationship must be developed.
1. Shepherd calls by name and his sheep come to him.
2. Shepherd leads his sheep and his sheep follow only him.
3. Shepherd cares for his sheep and they are often blissfully unaware.
4. Shepherd knows his sheep and they know him.
In this parable about the Good Shepherd, Jesus begins by saying he is the door/gate. To understand this properly we must look at the historical context.
· The pen/fold used in the village was a common pen.
· The watchman slept in the opening of the gate…he was the gate.
· Out in the hills the shepherd was the gate
· Sometimes a pen was built with stones with thorns on top of the walls.
· Thieves would attempt to sneak over/through the walls. They would then kill a lamb and throw it over the wall to their accomplice.
In this passage we see that the gate served the purpose of protecting from the thieves and wolves, and it was also the avenue through which the sheep entered the fold. In fact, Jesus will later say that He is the Way…the only Way. He is our authority!
· The Law came through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ
· Thus, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the replacement of Moses.
· Jesus replaces the Temple as the place of worship.
· He is the light of the world
· He is the way to the Father and no one can enter God’s presence except through Him.
· The context of this part of the passage is that the fold is Israel and not all are Jesus’ sheep.
· The thieves are the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day.
Do you recognize Jesus as your shepherd, the one who is the door? If you do, then this means that you are living in submission to him. You allow him to lead you out to good pastures. You know his voice. You follow him into the fold/pen…you trust him.
Perhaps we pay lip service to this Jesus, but we really keep control of everything in our lives. We don’t submit to him as our loving shepherd who has all authority over us. Have you asked him what he wants from you? The fact that he is the door signifies that he is the authority…is he in your life? Do we ask Him what we should do with our resources: our abilities, gifts, time, money, energy? Do we teach our children this or do we just sign them up for activities?