We are continuing our daily meditations on the divinity of Jesus, and specifically, the great I AM statements of Jesus. God revealed Himself to Moses and Israel as the I Am that I Am (Exodus 3:14). Jesus was using those same words in the Greek language:
7Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture (John 10:7-9).
“I am the gate,” is the third ‘I AM’ statement of Jesus. For those who say that there are many ways to God, Jesus said that He alone is the gate or door to the sheepfold, the sheepfold being a picture of eternal life and being safe and secure in Him. There is only one way, and Jesus is the only door. We have to come to Him—there is no other way. The apostle Peter wrote similar thoughts:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
We are deceived if we think there is another way to approach God. If there was another way other than God’s Son taking the punishment for sin, don’t you think God would have taken it rather than see His beloved Son brutally sacrificed as an offering for our sin? Our problem is that we are all easily led astray as sheep stray from the shepherd. The prophet Isaiah put it like this:
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
In New Testament times, when it was warmer the shepherd took his sheep away from the village for several days leading His sheep to grassy areas further from the town. At night time, the shepherd would find either a cave nearby or an enclosure made from the many stones and boulders from the mountainous region of Samaria and Judea. Brambles or thorn bushes would stop any wolves from wanting to get over the walls at the sheep during the night. There would be only one gap where the sheep could go in or out of the sheepfold. Jesus said, "I am the gate for the sheep, or "I am the door," depending on the translation you use. That would be the place where the shepherd would rest and sleep for the night. He would be the door of the sheepfold.
When He said that the sheep would be able to come in and go out (John 10:9), it is possible He was referring to the fact that the sheep that came into Jerusalem never went out again. Once they were inside the Sheep Gate, they were ready to be sacrificed. Jesus Himself would be in the place of the sheep as the perfect sacrificial Lamb so that they would be able to come in and go out again. He would take their place. They could rest peaceful and secure for the night because they could see the shepherd in the doorway, and they knew He loved them and would protect them from any wolves. The prophet Ezekiel, in the 6th century BC spoke about God coming to look after His sheep (His people) in this way:
11“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness (Ezekiel 34:11-12).
The God of Israel has come as a man as was prophesied by Ezekiel, “I Am the Gate” was one of His statements to be the Shepherd who protects His sheep. Are there wolves about you? Have you asked the Shepherd if you could be one of His sheep? Keith Thomas