Jesus declared, “I am the door!” (John 10:7, 9, ESV). In other translations, we read that Jesus said, “I am the gate” (CSB or NIV).
This is the third of Jesus’ seven “I AM” statements in the Gospel according to John. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35), “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12), “I am the Door” (John 10:7, ESV), “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6), and “I am the True Vine” (John 15:1).
Jesus’ disciples knew something about sheep. Everyone in Israel did. Shepherds were in every pasture and on every hillside. Everyone in the crowd understood Him. “Truly I tell you, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate (or the door) but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep” (John 10:1–2). “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep ... I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:7–10).
Imagine a young first-century shepherd who had three or four dozen sheep. Just for grins and giggles, let’s call our imaginary shepherd David. David sounds like a good name for a young Jewish shepherd who tends his daddy’s sheep.
During the daylight hours, David leads his sheep along the “right paths” to “green pastures,” and to “quiet waters” (Psalm 23). Sheep aren’t smart. They tend to get lost, so a shepherd leads his flock to meadows of lush green grass and to steams of cool, clear water. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3) “Come along, Spot, Boots, Blackie, Sassy...” David had named each of his sheep, and like a faithful puppy-dog, they responded when David called.
A good shepherd, like David, leads his sheep. He also protects them from vicious predators. David, no doubt, had rescued his sheep “from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear”(1 Samuel 17:37).
With his little flock well-fed and well-watered, David might lead them to a small enclosure where they could bed-down for the night. Can you see it? It’s a pen, a stockade, a corral. Rocks stacked upon other rocks form a fence. Inside, the sheep are safe. They can’t wander away, and the sheep are safe from predators. The rock enclosure doesn’t have a gate, just and small opening in the rock fence. It’s there, in that small opening that David sits and sleeps. A good shepherd serves as the door. If necessary, he will voluntarily “lay down (his) life for the sheep” (John 10:15).
Like the door in the side of Noah’s ark, there is only one door. Jesus, the Great Shepherd, is the Door. Have you found peace and rest inside?
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.