Sunday, April 30, 2017

John 10.1-10: I Am the Gate

Among the "I am" sayings of Jesus, "gate" may not be among the most frequent answers to a "fill in the blank" question. However, this particular "I am" saying is found in the Gospel reading for Easter 4A (John 10:1-10), along with several other texts that either mention or are centered on sheep.
While many of the "I am" sayings are poetic and lovely - bread of life, resurrection and the life, vine, and more - the "gate" image shows us Jesus not as poetry, but as a necessary, functioning object. Without the gate, the sheepfold (or pen) is useless. Sheep may indeed wander in, but they can just as easily walk right out.

Sometimes the shepherd literally became the gate, lying down in front of the opening of the fold so that no sheep can walk out - and no predator can walk in - without the shepherd being alerted. Caring for the sheep. Abundant life for the sheep. That's the bottom line for Jesus, the Good Shepherd. As sheep, we are blessed.

Photo: Dry stone sheep pen, Scotland.

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