Sheep are rather helpless creatures.  A shepherd would protect his flock night and day. Particularly at night, a good shepherd would gather the sheep into a pen, a cave or an area with natural stone walls. Without a gate, the shepherd would often sleep or sit in the opening to guard his sheep and not allow a thief or predator to enter.  The good shepherd in this case served as a gate.

It is interesting that Jesus did not craft language about his power or his wisdom. Instead he chose words that describe a relationship of love and care.  Jesus chose to call himself the gate and the good shepherd. 

Bible Reading

The Bible often speaks of us as sheep.

Jesus said, I am the gate for the sheep; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  John 10:7-11

Discussion

  1. Contrast the good shepherd to the thief’s intentions.
  2. How did Jesus fulfill being the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep?
    See John 10:17-18 and Matthew 27:27-54
  3. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “I am the gate”?

Word List
predator – an animal or even a person who uses their strength or advantage to destroy something weaker
craft – as a verb, it means to show skill

Read more:  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ~ the 23rd Psalm