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.
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.
Discussion ~ The Gate
1. How would you describe the purpose of a gate?
2. When Jesus said, “I am THE GATE…”, He is THE GATE to where?
3. When Jesus said, “…whoever enters through me will be saved”, what are we saved from?
4. What kind of life does Jesus promise?
Discussion ~ The Good Shepherd
- Contrast the good shepherd to the thief’s intentions.
- How did Jesus fulfill being the good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep?
See John 10:17-18 and Matthew 27:27-54.
- 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
- laid down his life – to die
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ~ the 23rd Psalm