Summary: Jesus came to bring us abundant life.
In this chapter, Jesus speaks about two kinds of sheep-folds.
In the villages there were communal sheep-folds where all the village flocks were sheltered when they returned home at night. These folds were protected by a strong door of which only the watchman had the key. It was to this kind of sheep-fold that Jesus referred in verses 1-3.
(READ vs. 1-3)
There, Jesus spoke of the fact that the true Messiah would arrive in the way foretold by prophecy - He would come in the proper way. Jesus is the true shepherd of the sheep (v. 2). The watchman represents John the Baptist, who opened the way for the Messiah (v. 3). The thieves and robbers are all who had falsely claimed to be the messiah in the past.
In other words, Jesus was saying that the way His ministry began, with John preparing the way, was evidence that He was, indeed, the Messiah foretold by prophetic Scripture and promised by God.
In our passage for today, we find Jesus speaking about another type of sheep-fold. When the sheep were out on the hills in the warm season and did not return at night to the village, they were gathered into the sheep-folds on the hillsides.
These hillside sheep-folds were circular walls with only one opening. What happened was that the shepherd himself would lay across the opening at night and thus protect the sheep from harm by preventing any from leaving or any predator from entering. This is what Jesus was speaking of here when He said, “I am the gate.”
What our Lord is telling us here is essentially the same thing Paul said of Christ in Ephesians 2:18: “we have access to the Father through Him” (NIV). Jesus is the gate through whom alone entrance to God is possible, and when one does come to God through Jesus Christ, his life is truly transformed. Jesus tells us here that if one enters through the gate to salvation, he will live . . .
1. Securely - v. 9
The words “be saved” could be translated “kept safe.” The point is that just as the sheep are kept safe under the watchful eye of the shepherd, those who come to God through Christ are kept safe.
Jesus uses a well-known Hebrew phrase to describe the security that is ours in our relationship to God when we come to Him through Christ. He says that we will, “come in and go out.”
To be able to come and go unmolested was the Jewish way of describing a life that is absolutely secure and safe. When a man can go in and out without fear, he is at peace and enjoys life to the full. When Moses asked God who his successor should be, he prayed:
“May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” - Numbers 27:16-17 (NIV)
When the psalmist spoke of God’s loving care, he said:
“The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” - Psalm 121:8 (Amplified)
Moses said that the blessings of God are such that:
“You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” - Deuteronomy 28:6 (NIV)
When one comes to God through Christ, He is eternally secure.
Several years ago when on of the astronauts who walked on the moon was asked what went through his mind when he stood on the moon and looked back at the earth. He replied, “I thought about how our spacecraft had been built by the lowest bidder.”
When it comes to our salvation, however, the work didn’t go to the lowest bidder. There is no deficiency to be found in the work Christ did on our behalf to provide for our salvation.
When one comes to God through Christ, he can live securely in the knowledge that though his fellowship with God may change because of his imperfections, his relationship with God will never change because of Christ’s perfection. He has been accepted by God on the basis of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid His life down for the sheep (v. 15; 17).
“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.” - Hebrews 10:14 (The Message)
And being able to live life securely means that one can enjoy life . . .
2. Supremely - v. 10