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The Gate

gate1John 10:1-10 – The Gate

 

We easily identify Jesus with the Good Shepherd, on the basis of the many other things we know about his life, his teaching and his loving gift of himself, even unto death. It comes as a surprise therefore, to know that this first part of the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, read in today’s liturgy, does directly apply the shepherd image to Jesus.

Jesus explains that some have come to steal, slaughter and destroy, but that he has come to bring abundant life. The background to this imagery is the prophet Ezekiel who had spoken sternly to the leaders of Israel. They should have been the shepherds of the people, but instead they abandoned them, looking after their own interests, leading the flock, the Israelites into slaughter (see Ezek 34).

There are good and bad leaders. The good leaders of God’s people must come to them through Jesus. There is only one way to enter into the sheepfold to bring wholeness and life to the flock: through the gate. The shepherds of God’s people who are prepared to come through Jesus will be all that Christian leaders should be. The frightening alternative is a leadership which comes to God’s people with its own plans, its own agenda and its own career in mind.

The challenging question for Christian leaders today is this; are we passing through the gate which is Jesus, or have we developed our own ways of doing things? Are we shepherds as Jesus is the Good Shepherd, laying down our life for his sheep (v.15), or are we only following our own interests?

(Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year A, by Francis J. Moloney, pages 116-117)

John 10:1-10

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus the Good Shepherd

10 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Acts 2:42-47 

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Life among the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[a] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[b] and ate their food with glad and generous[c] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.