When it comes to analogies and examples, Jesus is a master speaker. He can use so many practical examples to help us understand kingdom things. In today’s statement, Jesus uses an analogy to help us understand better who He is and what his mission to earth is all about.
Jesus uses a practical example, for the people of his time, of sheep and a shepherd. A very common occupation in this part of Israel was shepherding and herding sheep. Jesus knows this and uses it to his advantage. Jesus starts out by explaining that the only way into the sheep pen is by the gate. The shepherd enters by the gate and the sheep follow the shepherd’s voice in and out of the gate. Jesus then makes this statement, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7). Jesus tells us that all who enter in by the gate will be saved. In other words, all who come to Jesus and follow him are saved.
Not only is Jesus the gate by which we enter the kingdom, He is also the shepherd. John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd”. Jesus is also the one we are following through the gate. We should not follow anyone else because when trouble comes, they will abandon us (v.12-13). The Pharisees in Jesus day were like the hired hand Jesus describes. They do not care for His people and neither does anyone else besides the Shepherd himself, Jesus.
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16). This verse is an interesting one and it clearly describes what is going to happen when the Jews and Gentiles become one family. No longer will it matter where you come from or what nationality. The Good Shepherd, Jesus is bringing everyone of all nations to him to become one family.
In John 10:11, we see the promise of Jesus being the Shepherd. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”. The sheep (us) need saving, and the only way to save them is to lay down life for them. This is exactly what Jesus did by dying on the cross. Jesus is the Shepherd because he laid down his life for us, and so saving us from any wolves that might be out to get us. How beautiful it is that Jesus is the gate in which we enter through and the Shepherd in who we follow.