Jesus said, “I am the gate.” John 10:7
What a strange symbol this is when taken out of context.
And it is when Jesus is talking about being the good shepherd that he uses this image. Which means we have to think about it.
The sheepfold where the sheep were kept safe was vital for the life of the flock.
It protected them from the weather, from wild animals, and from thieves who might be “sheep rustlers”.
Jesus will do this for his flock – a word we still sometimes use for a congregation or church community. As we rely on him, both as a church and as individuals, he can protect us from harm, keep us from sin, bring forgiveness, and the fear of death.
A gate or a door is the way into a property. Psalm 118:19 says, “open to me the gates of righteousness, I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.”
He is of course the way into the community of those who worship God as Father and Sovereign Lord. But gates and doors keep out “thieves and robbers”. Jesus is referring to those who would undermine the flock – perhaps with false and non-Godly ideas, of greener pastures. He is not saying we should keep anyone from coming to him and enjoying the eternal life he alone can offer. He invites all to open the gate and enter.
But he also says in Matthew 7: “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Finding and following Jesus is not the easiest of paths.
May all find and open that narrow gate called Jesus, and keep on the narrow road, the way, the truth and the Life he shows us.