I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Life By the Gate
Good Day Family,
In this passage, Jesus had healed a blind man, and religious leaders challenged his authority to do so. The assumption was that this man was born into sin. His blindness could not just be a condition, it had to be a judgment either against him or his parents. When Jesus heals him, religious leaders question the man about Jesus, and they engage in a spirited discourse over the legitimacy of Jesus and his healing of the formerly blind man.
This parable of the gate and the shepherd amplifies the relationship between Jesus and humanity. It should not be surprising that he expresses two distinct roles–shepherd and gate. In his divinity, he is the shepherd who cares for and protects the sheep. They are drawn to him, able to identify and follow his voice. The shepherd may also denote human leadership anointed and appointed by God in the tradition of Moses and David. As the gate and gatekeeper, Jesus presents the tension and immense possibilities of his dual roles of being both fully human and fully divine at the same time. It would seem contradictory and unbelievable, but as presented throughout John’s narrative, those who choose to follow Jesus believe in him even when they do not understand. It is the relationship that centers and anchors their commitment.