I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep rustlers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
John 10: 7-10 The Message
Sheep were common in Israel, in both the times of King David and Jesus. Here. Jesus is using the analogy of sheep to let us know that He wants to care for and protect us. He is our good shepherd. He also gives a strong warning that not everyone who is interested in sheep has their best interests at heart! Here, our Lord characterizes many who approach the sheep as “sheep rustlers!” Such disreputable scoundrels only come after the sheep in order to steal them. They do not love the sheep. They see the sheep only as a means to an end: the profit and gratification of the rustler!
Throughout our lives, many different people approach us. Some of those people have our best interest at heart, but others do not. Jesus is warning us that He is the only one who will consistently care for us, and give us free will to choose Him.
There are always going to be sheep rustlers in our world. Jesus warns that they will attempt to deceive us, pulling us away from His love and protection. Unfortunately, many people fall for their charms, and end up in a bad place.
Jesus is the opposite of a sheep rustler. He is the good shepherd. He LOVES the sheep and speaks of himself as the “gate” for the sheep. Most sheep pens in Jesus’ day had an opening for the sheep to enter. At night, many shepherds would sleep right across this entrance to the pen. Thus, the shepherd literally became the gate for the sheep!
Jesus laid down His own life, to protect us with the gift of eternal life. When we choose to follow Christ, and to be His sheep, we are safe in His pasture.
How wonderful it is that in a world which constantly wants to take something from us, our Lord comes to give to us. He offers us love, peace, and the incredible gift of eternal life. Praise God!
Gracious and loving God,
Protect me and guide me so that I may have the wisdom to discern what is evil and what is good in this world. Guard me from those who would do me harm. Remind me to follow you in all that I do and say. Thank you for Your love, Your care, and Your gift of eternal life. I pray this prayer in Your holy name. Amen.