The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. ... and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. ... Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. -John 10:3-4,6-9 NRSV
I love the way that Jesus taught using stories of things familiar to his audiences. The stories drew them in and caused them to ask questions. And often his answers were as confusing as his stories. You have to wonder what they were thinking when he called himself "the gate for the sheep". Did they understand what he was teaching them?
A few things come to mind when I think about a gate or a door. Both convey the sense of separation. Each speaks of transition from one place to another. Jesus' life seems to embody that sense of separation and transition. He is the one who sees the heart and opens the portal to new life. Yet not all who hear his voice follow and are saved.
Help us Lord to hear your voice and follow you to loving pastures.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.