There is only one way to get to the safe place of rest that God offers his sheep.
John 10:1-9 "I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice."
6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn't understand what He meant, 7 so He explained it to them: "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before Me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them.
9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.
There are two people that were very important in taking care of the sheep, there was obviously the shepherd and there was a lesser known person know as the gatekeeper. We all know that the shepherd was the guy that owned the sheep and they spent most of their time with him out in the fields but we don't hear much about the gatekeeper.
Back in those days the shepherds would bring there sheep into a common sheepfold so that the would have a wall of protection around them during the night. Then the shepherds would be able to go home knowing that the sheep were in a pen and the only way into that pen was through the gate.
The gatekeeper was important for the safety of the sheep, he would accept the sheep from all of the local shepherds and then lock the gate or he would become the gate by bedding down in the opening. The thieves and robbers that tried to harm the sheep had to harm the guy that was being the gate or they had to try to climb the wall which was probably decorated with thorns around the top of it.
Since a live sheep would be difficult to get back over the wall it is very likely that they would slaughter the sheep right there in the pen. The reason they wanted the lamb was to have food or to have the fleece so either way the lamb was going to die.
|The Gate Is Narrow|
|Matthew 7:13-14 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.|
Jesus wants us to know that his children have a place of safety and rest and there is only one narrow opening to get you there. (Matthew 11:28, 1 Timothy 2:5) These concepts are difficult for our world to understand. We want God to let us into the sheepfold by our rules, we don't want there to be one way in that he gets to define, we like to be in charge but we don't get to be the boss.
Thank you Lord for caring enough for such lowly, dirty and dumb creatures that you went to the extreme to give them an eternal dwelling place of safety and rest.
I Am The Door (gotquestions.org)
What Rest Does Jesus Promise? (gty.org)