Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who have come before me were thieves and robbers,
but the sheep have not listened to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
Although this passage addresses the fact that the Pharisees didn’t understand what Jesus was saying about the gate and His sheep, I’m sure there were others listening to Him who also were not comprehending the full meaning of Jesus’ words. And I’m pretty certain I would have been one of these dense ones. Jesus says, once again, “Very truly I tell you” to emphasize the truth and authority with which He is speaking. We each need to listen to Him, and with the help of His Spirit of truth (John 16:13) we will understand!
In this passage, Jesus wants to lay down the fundamental truth of salvation. He wants to set before all of us the sole and irrefutable way of entrance into eternal life with our Holy God. Jesus Himself is the entrance. Jesus Himself is the gate. Period. Salvation and eternal life with our Holy God is completely, uniquely dependent on Jesus Christ. It is only through His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins and His glorious resurrection to life eternal that we are able to enter into the presence of the Lord Most High.
Jesus repeats His lesson, knowing how desperately we need to understand and believe all that He is very truly telling us. Jesus addresses the Pharisees specifically, the teachers and leaders of the religious laws, because He loves them, as He loves all people, and needs to shake them up and out of their self-righteous thinking and hypocritical practices that almost entirely exclude and dismiss the mercy of God as the only true way to forgiveness and salvation. Jesus knows this is a deadly and damning practice for any who would follow those teachings. Jesus alone is Savior. Jesus alone is the gate, the entrance point, to eternal life with God.
Salvation is found in no one else,
for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Jesus holds Himself open to all who would enter humbly by faith into the full mercy of our God. His sheep will do this. They will not listen to the teachings of lies. The sheep who truly belong to Jesus – those who have not followed the spiritual thieves and robbers of this world – “will come in and go out, and find pasture.” His sheep “will come in” to be loved, cared for, fed and protected. His sheep “will go out” always following Him. Even into unknown and uncomfortable areas. His sheep know His voice, know His teachings and they trust His love and provision to be their “pasture.” No matter what their circumstances may be.
Jesus – the gate, the shepherd, the Savior of the world – can be trusted with His sheep and by His sheep now and forever! Amen!
In love, peace and purposeful passion,