So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:7-15 ESV)
In the gospel of John, Jesus uses many different pictures to explain who he is relation to people. In this example he explains that he is the door of the sheep, meaning that he is the only way to green pastures and thus to life. All other ways people might try to get to God or find lasting life are false. Jesus is the only way. He also describes himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, meaning that not only is he the door to the green pastures (and life) but also the good shepherd that protects the flock from danger as they grave. He does not flee when danger comes but protects, even to the cost of his life. It is a powerful picture for a society familiar with sheep.
The application for us is to understand that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, the only way to God. It is also to understand that getting to God costs the life of the good shepherd. Jesus loves us that much. We should note that there are plenty of other things (teachers, money, popularity, fitting into the right crowd, having the best toys), that will look like the way to life, but in the end these things are like thieves that take from us rather than give to us. They take our efforts and devotion and give less and less back in return. In the end they abandon us to die in the judgment.
As you look at the way you most like to spend your time and energy, what is it that you look to as your gate to a full life?
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 1 Sa 31, 1 Co 11, Ez 9, Jn 10