The Verse of the Day for December 5, 2016 offers another metaphorical statement by Jesus Christ about himself:
John 10:7, 9-10 in the New King James Version:
[Jesus the Good Shepherd] Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Providentially, Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been ministering with a teaching series “Hearing the Voice of God” based on this same passage. His objective has been to teach that hearing the voice of God should be a lifestyle.
A previous blog entry notes that this particular passage speaks of Jesus Christ as the gate or door of the sheep which serves a dual purpose. Such a gate or door can be used to keep enemies or those with harmful intents from entering the sheepfold. It can also be used to keep the sheep within the confines of safety. Ron Graham elaborates on this reference:
A ‘Sheepfold’ is a secure walled enclosure in which sheep are penned when not out to pasture in care of the shepherd. The sheepfold might be a permanent barn-like enclosure for shelter, an outdoor holding pen with stone walls, or a makeshift barricade of briars and crisscrossed pointed sticks. A single narrow opening was provided for entry and exit. If there was no secure door or gate, a keeper would guard the entrance or at night sleep across it. The purpose of the sheepfold was to keep the flock together, keep out wolves or dogs, and to make it difficult for thieves or vandals to steal or harm the sheep. A flock of sheep is a very valuable but vulnerable asset. A good shepherd knows and loves his sheep and guards them with his life against all predators. He keeps his flock together and fetches back any sheep that stray. A sheepfold was necessary for the protection of the flock.
The Sheep Gate is also mentioned in the rebuilding of the wall and the gates at Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah. A teaching series on the gates of Jerusalem was the inspiration for this poem which comes to mind while thinking of John 10:
At the Sheep Gate
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep,
and am known by My own
As the Father knows Me,
even so I know the Father;
and I lay down My life for the sheep.
Here stands a company of priests, a holy nation,
Those called, chosen and set apart faithfully to serve,
To restore the sacred place of adoration.
Our lives have become open books for all to observe.
Even as priests prepared the altar of sacrifice,
We commit our lives to serve the Lord and vow to keep
Our covenant both with God and with one another.
As the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,
We are willing to give our lives for a sister or brother.
We have been sent to the sheepfold to guard and protect
Indeed, we are willing to pay the ultimate price
To follow Christ that our love might be made perfect.
At the Sheep Gate God first speaks that His will might be known:
That shepherds with His heart should serve and preserve His own.
We close with this lively musical rendering of John 10:10: “I have come”