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The Message of John (Lesson 15)
The Gate | John 10:9
"I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture."
In John 10, Jesus applies the metaphor of a gate for a sheep pen to himself.
He says, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture."
It’s important to note that this statement is part of a larger conversation that Jesus is having with the Pharisees. In John 9, Jesus heals a man who had been blind from birth. This causes controversy among the Pharisees, who do not believe that Jesus is sent from God.
In response, Jesus speaks about a gate, saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep" (John 10:1-2).
The idea of a shepherd is a common metaphor in the Old Testament to describe God's relationship with his people.
This is expressed in Psalm 118:19-21,
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
And there is the familiar passage in Psalm 23:2,
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters."
As far as the image of a gate is concerned in its relationship to Jesus, it represents exclusive entrance into the community of believers. In ancient times, a sheepfold was a walled enclosure where shepherds would bring their flocks at night for protection from predators and thieves. To say, "whoever enters through me will be saved” is also to say, “whoever does not enter through me will not be saved.” As the gate, Jesus declares his authority as the gatekeeper of eternal salvation.
But for those who enter through Jesus, the gate represents eternal security. Notice, Jesus doesn’t say that those who enter through him “might be saved.” Rather, they “will be saved.” It is an absolute certainty. Behind the walls, secured by the gate, those who rest in the protection and provision of the shepherd can experience the peace of the shepherd’s care.
Additionally, the gate represents the freedom that believers possess in Christ. When Jesus says, "They will come in and go out, and find pasture," he refers to the abundance of provision they will receive from their shepherd. In other words, our lives are not restricted but liberated by entrance into the sheepfold of Christ.
But what does it mean to we enter the sheepfold through Jesus? How can we find entrance into the pen, where we receive forgiveness of sins, eternal security and peace, and live with a sense of spiritual freedom now and forever?
Through trusting in the Shepherd’s substitutionary sacrifice upon a cross.
Through his death, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and reconciled us to God. And his resurrection confirms the promises of grace in Jesus are all true!
What are some primary uses of gates?
How does Jesus refer to himself as a gate?
How does the gate represent the exclusive entrance into the community of believers?
In what ways does the gate represent the protection and safety that believers find in Christ?
How does the gate represent the freedom that believers possess in Christ?
What is the role of trusting in the Shepherd's substitutionary sacrifice in entering through the gate?
In what ways can the metaphor of the gate provide comfort and hope to believers?
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we reflect on Jesus as the gate in John 10, we are humbled by the exclusive entrance into the community of believers you have provided for us through your Son. We thank you for the protection, safety, and freedom that we find in Christ, and for the personal relationship that we can have with him through his sacrifice on the cross.
Help us to find our hope and security in Jesus alone.
And we pray for those who have not yet entered through the gate, that they may come to know the love and salvation that you offer in the gospel.
For we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
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