Some thoughts on today’s scripture — John 10: 1-10.
We begin today to consider two images that Jesus gives of himself: the first is that of a gate and the second that of a shepherd.
The ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus in the fourth gospel are very significant. ‘I AM… the bread of life … the living water … the light of the world’ etc. They indicate to us Jesus’ divine status, since God himself (when asked his name by Moses) declared: I AM WHO I AM. The pictures and images which Jesus uses show us the face of God.
“I AM the gate of the sheepfold.” Here we have the second of the seven ‘I AM’ (‘ego eimi ) statements made by Jesus in this gospel. Again Jesus’ points to his divine origin by using the name of God which was given to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).
Jesus uses rich images from daily life to illustrate the depth of his desired relationship with us. On the one side, he speaks of shepherd and sheep, gatekeeper and gate, pasture and life, recognition and salvation. The contrasting words are: strangers, thieves and bandits, killing and stealing, running away in fear instead of following, climbing in rather than walking through the open gate. Jesus calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. Jesus, as the Gate, the Way, has come “that they may have life and have it to the full.”
‘I AM the gate’. In Jesus’ day the shepherd cut thorn branches to make a circle for night. Leaving a gap in the circle, the shepherd called the sheep into the circle and then slept across the gap! ‘I AM the gate’! Lord, let me hear your voice, so that I may open the gate of my heart for you. Draw me to the pathways of life. May others then see me as a safe gateway leading to abundant life.
Taken from “Sacred Space” – submitted by A. Whitmore