We continue in the I Am series this Sunday, with Jesus’ declaration – I AM the Gate. Embedded in the passage are two beautiful images of Jesus. John 10 begins with the picture of a single shepherd, entering a sheep pen filled with sheep from many different herds.
In her book, The Preaching Life, Barbara Brown Taylor shares how the shepherd can distinguish his sheep within the larger herd:
“In Palestine today, it is still possible to witness a scene that Jesus almost certainly saw two thousand years ago, that of Bedouin shepherds bringing their flocks home from the various pastures they have grazed during the day. Often those flocks will end up at the same watering hole around dusk, so that they get all mixed up together—eight or nine small flocks turning into a convention of thirsty sheep. Their shepherds do not worry about the mix-up, however. When it is time to go home, each one issues his or her own distinctive call—a special trill or whistle, or a particular tune on a particular reed pipe, and that shepherd's sheep withdraw from the crowd to follow their shepherd home. They know who they belong to; they know their shepherd's voice, and it is the only one they will follow.” Later in chapter 10, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Immediately, Jesus utters the words I Am the Gate for the sheep. What does he mean? I hope you can join us this Sunday as we explore the sheep, the shepherd, and the gate.