I Am the Good Shepherd that Keeps the Gate

I Am the Good Shepherd that Keeps the Gate
My husband and I have been blessed with two children. While they are similar in some ways, they certainly have their own personalities. And thankfully God gave them to us in an order we could understand. We’ve said many times our son was given to us to confirm our love of boundaries. We find lots of comfort in schedules, fences, and maps. Now our daughter, on the other hand, was given to us to remind us every fence needs a gate. She is always going to color inside the lines, but will always add color to the background.
Read these verses from John’s gospel: “Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’” (John 10:7-10).
Back in the days of Jesus, shepherds would usually keep their sheep in one of two types of pens. One type of pen was found in cities – a big pen, where several shepherds could keep their flocks, all of their sheep, all together. This type of pen had a door, which was guarded at night by a gatekeeper. In the morning, the shepherds would come and call their flock out. The sheep would follow only their shepherd because they knew his voice, just as Jesus says in John 10:5: “They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
The second type of sheepfold that was common in Jesus’ time was a smaller pen out in the countryside. The shepherd would keep his sheep out there in good weather. The walls of these pens were made of piles of rocks, and there was no gate – just an opening through which the sheep would enter. To keep his sheep inside and to keep wild animals out, the shepherd would lie down across the opening to sleep. Jesus is the gate for us. He keeps us safe and protects us from anything that could hurt us.
In a society where boundaries can be portrayed as cages, it’s up to us to remember the boundaries Jesus sets for us are for our protection. We are called to walk about, but always keeping our eye on Him. I can mentally color that picture inside and outside the lines!
He lies at the door watching over us. Isn’t that a comfort? Today let’s celebrate the blessing of boundaries and His constant protection.
By Carrie Peterson

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