The “gate” is key to Jesus’ care
by Tim Sandy
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
John 10:9 records one of Jesus’ great “I am” statements: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” If asked to describe a gate one might picture in their minds an iron gate or a wood picket gate or maybe a wire gate. If asked to explain the function of a gate the answer would probably have something to do with access, either to grant or deny. Jesus’ use of the image of a gate clearly points to the idea of gaining access. We find in John 10:9 that access to what Jesus offers is to “whoever enters through” him.
What is it Jesus offers us through himself? We see at least three things in this verse: his presence, his purpose and his provisions. One of the key ideas of being saved is that we have a personal relationship with God. We can experience his presence not only in eternity but at this very moment. The phrase “come in and go out” brings to mind the blessing of entering those quiet moments of worship, praise, fellowship and rest with Jesus. The going out is entering the world around us as a witness by living this great relationship with Jesus before the world. This gives us purpose in life. As one of his sheep, through him we can be assured that Jesus will provide all we need in this life and the life to come. We live through him in his pasture of provisions.
The most moving truth of all in this verse is not what Jesus’ access provides for us. It is the reality he illustrates through this imagery that only through him can we experience these great blessings. The “gate” is the primary truth of this verse and Jesus says, “I am the gate.” In Jesus’ day the shepherd would sometimes act as the gate himself by placing his body in the opening of the sheep pen for the night. Doing this insured the shepherd that all his sheep were safely in, that they rested undisturbed for the night and in the morning found their way out into the pastures to eat. The gate is the key to all this, and the shepherd acting as the gate shows his personal care for the sheep.
We can strive to find fulfilment through different avenues of life. There are many “gates” out there that promise satisfaction, enjoyment, meaning and safety. Yet all these earthly “gates” have limitations and are susceptible to many variables. Only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can we experience that which we most need in life: his presence, his purpose and his provisions. Thank you, Jesus, for being the gate!
Tim Sandy is senior pastor at Corn (Okla.) MB Church.