Let’s continue talking about these “I Am” statements:
3- I Am the Gate (Jn 10:7, 9)
Character: Provider and Protector
Mission: to provide the way for us to be saved and protect us from the three enemies so that we can stay with Him and live the saved life
After having healed a man blind from birth, Jesus speaks to the crowds about how the religious of His day were the ones who were blind to the Love and Grace of God. Instead of being at awe of God’s miraculous healing power, these religious become angry with Jesus for healing this poor man on the Sabbath. Holding to their rules and regulations a lot stronger than to God’s mercy and forgiveness, they were missing the entire point to the Law God had given them.
For this “I Am” statement, it is helpful to understand more about the work of a shepherd and the constant care he gives his flock. So I point you to the resource below from GotQuestion?.org. Listen to this snippet though: “… the shepherd would keep the sheep in and wild animals out by lying across the opening [to the sheep pen]. He would sleep there, in this case literally becoming the door to the sheep”. So Jesus claims to be the gate, or door, for His sheep for two reasons. 1- Again Jesus is saying there is only One Way to be saved, through Christ alone. And 2- Jesus will not leave us on our own once we have surrendered to His Lordship. No. He will continue to be our Protector against those three enemies.
One of my favorite verses tells us: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10) The ultimate thief, of course, is the devil who hates us because God so loves us, and so he is behind everything that is evil in this world. But this corrupt world, including sadly enough many religions and congregations that end up leading people away from Jesus, instead of to Him, is also a very dangerous enemy. Then there is that old sinful person we used to be that continues to try to get back on the throne of our lives. Jesus protects us from each of these by keeping us at His side and keeping these wolves from being able to enter into our heart ever again. As we grow in Christ, Jesus helps us mature so that we may have, enjoy and share the Abundant Life.
4- I Am the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11, 14)
Character: Good Shepherd
Mission: Loves and cares, protects and provides, nourishes and gives us rest
Oh how I love this whole chapter! Jesus is not just any old shepherd, but our Good Shepherd, so whatever He does or allows, it is meant for our good. Jesus is continuing His conversation, and after saying He is the only Gate, Jesus expands that by proclaiming “I am the Good Shepherd.” I want to focus on one wonderful aspect of this fact which is: we will know His Voice, because He will make sure we do!
You see, never is any believer left alone during the rest of our lives here in this world. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus will make sure we have all we need…maybe not all we want, but certainly all we need to live this Abundant Life, growing in Christ to become more and more like Him. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus will make sure we lay in green pastures and walk by still waters, that is, He will nourish and strengthen us and give us rest, even in the midst of trials. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus will make sure our souls have times of restoration, where we can just breathe and move forward with life. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus will make sure to guide us along the path of righteousness for His Name’s sake…I hope you noticed how I have been referring to Psalm 23 here.
And what is most amazing is that, as our Good Shepherd, Jesus does all this, and so much more, often without us even being aware of that He is doing what He is. It is as we grow that we begin to sense His loving hand in our lives, and begin to actually cooperate and participate in what He is doing in and through us! It is sensing His Presence then working with God that is a huge part of what makes this life abundant!
Got questions? “What did Jesus mean when He said “I am the door” (John 10:7)?”
2023’s Got A Minute? Book Club
January: The Bible
<>< Peace, Diane