Monday, 13 May 2019

The Gate


In the Gospel of John Chapter 10 Jesus says several times "I am the gate".

In Chapter 10 - 9 He says "I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture."

This seems strange at first. We can understand when Jesus says "I am the Way" or "I am the Good Shepherd"; but gate? What does all that mean?

To understand this we need to visualise how a sheep pen at the times of Christ looked like. It was a circular or square enclosure built out of stone, wooden fencing or just hedges. And it had an opening through which sheep got in and out.

But shepherds in those days were poor people. They certainly would not have the money to build gates at the opening of the pen. They stayed "watching their flocks by night" with their sheep.

The pen looked something like this:
 
And the shepherd would lie across the opening, sleeping with his sheep, and making sure that none would get out during the night. Also protecting them from wolves or other predators.

So, the shepherd was in fact the gate.

That's what Jesus meant when He said He is the gate.

He protects us from evil and stops us from going astray. This passage from John's Gospel is a New Testament version of Psalm 23 -

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

14 comments:

  1. It took me decades before I could 'see' how GENTLE God's 'rod and staff' truly are; because I grew up with 'harsh judgement' and 'corporal punishment' being threatened, and meted out by our parish priests. When I finally saw that the Shepherd's Crook was supposed to be used as a gentle 'reminder' for the sheep, I finally began to trust in God a little more. And He finally led me to a Parish where the priests were indeed, 'gentle shepherds' who DIDN'T 'beat the sheep into submission'!! Praise be to God!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Suzanne for sharing your experience with us. Indeed, God is love and gentleness.

      God bless.

      Delete
  2. That's a perfect example. Thank you, Victor!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your examples are always nice and easy to understand.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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