Most of my life I lived in towns and cities, so I found it quite hard to relate to the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus in John Chapter 10. But then Paul and I moved to a small country village in Lancashire and lived there for twenty-four years. From the people I met in the local church I learned about the farming way of life for the first time, and every day I could walk down a country lane and see the sheep grazing on the hilly ground.
But I understand that, in the time when Jesus walked the earth, shepherds had a tough job looking after their sheep and protecting them from the danger of bears and wolves in the night. Each sheep was herded into a sheepfold for the night and kept safe by the shepherd who slept in the entrance. No wild animal could attack the sheep without coming past the shepherd.
Jesus contrasts the shepherd who looks after the sheep in this way with the ‘hired hand’ who, when the wolf attacked the flock, runs away because he cares nothing for the sheep (John 10:12–13). ‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’, says Jesus (John 10:11 & 15). But, first of all, Jesus says He is the door. ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture’ (John 10:9).
Jesus is inviting each one of us to come to Him and He is the door we can go through to be saved, ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture’ (John 10:9). But He is not like those doors which are one way only and once we go through them, we have to stay on the other side afterwards. It is not like being in Lockdown when some people were not allowed to go out at all, and others were only allowed limited freedom to go out. No! There is freedom with Jesus. The good shepherd let his sheep go out in the morning to find pasture again. They were free to come back in and go out during the day and at night-time they were kept safe.
Jesus is the right door and we must know the difference between His door and the ones which are wrong. If we make a mistake and go through one of these, we will end up being trapped and held prisoner. The only way out is to repent and ask Jesus to forgive us and set us free from the grip of the enemy.
Jesus warns us about the enemy and tells us he comes to steal, kill and destroy. It’s in the following verse. ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10). His message to us today is that we are to come to Him and enter into all the fullness of life available to us.
Later on, in John’s gospel, Jesus makes it even more clear that He is the way to life. ‘Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You are the door for me to come to my heavenly Father. Thank You that You allow me freedom of choice and provide security and protection for me from the attack of the enemy. Thank You that You give me abundant life. Help me to heed Your voice calling me into the safe place of shelter where I can rest and be refreshed. Thank You for laying Your life down for me and being my Saviour and Lord. Amen.
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