Jesus, our Shepherd and Gate

John 10: 1-10
Acts 11:1-18 / Psa 42,43

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
(John 10:9)

He leads us in meadows to feed,
And knows what we seek as His sheep
Our Shepherd supplies what we need,
And all His promises will keep.

(Jesus said,) “Amen, amen, I say to you, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what He was telling them. So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; 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.” (John 10: 1-10)

Reflection

Our Lord Jesus here uses two figures of speech to describe Himself. The first is clear enough: He is the shepherd of His sheep; He knows them intimately, they listen to Him, He leads them, and they follow Him. His second analogy about Himself, however must have confused His listeners even more. “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep… whoever enters through me will be saved.” How can He be the shepherd and the gate of the sheep pen at the same time?

Our Lord was in fact providing an accurate description of how a true and dedicated shepherd took care of his sheep. In most cases, the sheep pens in Palestine during the time of our Lord had no gates. Once the shepherd had herded the flock into the pen, he would sit across the passageway to prevent any sheep from going out and to discourage any predator (like a wolf) from going in. In effect he became the gate.

It is very clear to us in this Gospel passage of John that it is only through Jesus that we can all be saved. He is the door to eternal life. In the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn.14:6). Through His passion, death and Resurrection, Jesus became our doorway to salvation.

It is here in the renewal where we have come to know our Shepherd more intimately. He called our name and we followed Him. But it is not enough that we just follow Jesus like tame sheep. He expects us to grow in His Spirit and become shepherds as well. In our Brotherhood, our mission is to live out the values of Jesus Christ, and be agents of change in our workplaces through a process of personal conversion, commitment to professional excellence, and the responsible care for all (the sheep) that are entrusted to us. As Group or Unit Leaders, how have we shepherded the members entrusted to us? Have we led first timers to Christ in our breakfast meetings? These are the questions that we must address now, lest we are suddenly called by the Foremost Shepherd Himself and asked to account for our flock.

Lead us, Lord, in the right direction, to learn the ways of our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, live his values and ideals so that we too may become His shepherds to others. Amen.

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