John 10:“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Just keep in mind that Jesus is talking about two different entities here. He is talking about Himself as the Shepherd and satan as the thief or robber. The intimate relationship every believer gets to live in is one where our Savior knows us by name, not just as a group of people. Jesus is identifying easily for us so we can know who to follow, so it is not a blind choice. Jesus also lists some characteristics of the good shepherd and some characteristics of the thief.
The Good Shepherd – He made an area of protection for the sheep. He knows where the gate is and leads the sheep through that gate. He doesn’t herd a group, but knows all of the sheep by name. He walks ahead of the sheep to make sure the way is safe and clear. The sheep are comforted and trust the shepherd because they know His voice. The sheep know the shepherd so well they won’t follow anyone else.
The thief – He sneaks over the wall and bypasses the gate. Leads the sheep to believe they can do the same. Doesn’t know the sheep by name, but just by being sheep who are vulnerable. Tries to lure the sheep to follow Him and then desert them when they get in trouble because he IS trouble.
Jesus explained more in detail in the next verses about who is what. Verse 6-10 6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, 7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Jesus explained that He is the gate for the sheep and further illustrates later on in John 14 where He says, 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. So Jesus, the Son of God has established and told them and us that He is the only way to heaven because He is the Gate or The Way. You may have read about “The Way.” The very words of Jesus in John 14:6 became a movement that God developed into a passionate outreach to those who were lost sheep and brought to the gate (Jesus). Satan tried to stop The Way through a man by the name of Saul and many believers were persecuted and killed by Saul. But Jesus….But Jesus…. I love those two words. But Jesus met Saul on the Damascus Road and Saul was born again, never to be the same again. Acts 9 shows just how much satan was against those who proclaimed Jesus as The Way. Acts 9:9 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. Jesus took that man who hated Him and the followers of The Way and changed his heart to do the opposite. Saul became one of the most influential believers in the church. Wow. Say that backwards? WOW!! Don’t you see if you know Jesus that is you and me there in the story of Saul. We were headed for nowhere and Jesus became our gate and led us to a whole new life. Praise God!! I am weeping a little here as I write these words of new life and hope.
I accepted Christ at age 11 at First Baptist Church, West Plains, Mo. after I got invited to Vacation Bible School by one of my classmates and I heard the message of hope and I then became a follower of The Way!! I accepted The call into the Gospel Ministry at age 21 in that same church and I have been following The Way ever since. I walked through that gate and ignored the thief and God gave me an “abundant life” that is still going. I have been attacked mercilessly throughout my life, but praise God the shepherd is still leading and He knows my name and I know and recognize His voice though the Holy Spirit!!
Jesus just keeps on leading and I keep on following and even though the thief tries to steal my joy, my direction, my commitment I still follow the One Who Goes Before Me. The lessons I learn through God’s Word continue to spur me on to greatness and Godliness and that word gives me fuel for the long run. Where He leads I will follow is more than a hymn someone wrote. It is a reality to me and I hope to you also. God’s abundant life has some twists and turns that are unexpected, but are necessary to keep us going The Right Way!! Listen to the call of the shepherd. He is calling you by name. Time to respond to the Gate and let the shepherd lead you through your life. He is The One Who Goes Before You.
The Pilgrimage continues…..
The One Who Goes Before Me