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“I am the gate of the sheep… the good shepherd”

March 29, 2023

Daily Scripture

John 10:7-16

7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.
14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus said the spiritual blindness of Israel’s leaders didn’t just hurt them. It left the human “flock” God had entrusted to their care in spiritual danger. (He strongly echoed the prophet Ezekiel’s message—cf. Ezekiel 34:1-16. Note the “LORD” in that passage—that’s the Old Testament YHWH, “I AM.”) God had promised Israel that he would shepherd them himself if their human shepherds failed. Jesus said, “I AM the promised ‘good shepherd.’” He was God, safely guiding and protecting all who trust him.

  • Jesus said, “I Am the gate,” a physical fact for those who cared for sheep. Scholar N. T. Wright noted, “In many Eastern sheepfolds, the shepherd lies down at night in the gateway, to stop the sheep getting out and to stop predators getting in. Here Jesus seems to indicate the way in which the shepherd keeps the sheep safe, and, like God himself in Psalm 121:8, watches over their going out and their coming in.” * In what ways is Jesus “the gate” who keeps you spiritually safe?
  • Jesus said, “I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest” (John 10:10). In what ways do ads for everything from banks to automobiles, from alcoholic beverages to hair-care products, hold out a similar promise? How easy or hard do you find it to trust, in your day-to-day life, that Jesus’ way truly offers you the fullest, most satisfying life?

Lord Jesus, I want to “live life to the fullest”—the way YOU define that phrase. Plant the seed of your word in my heart and grow it into a life that nourishes life in others. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas joined the Resurrection staff in 2021 and serves in donor relations. She’s a Boston native and moved to Kansas City in 2020 when her husband Blake accepted a call at Resurrection West to lead their student ministries! Her favorite pasttimes include pottery, hiking, frisbee, trying new restaurants, and spending time with Blake and their large orange cat, Tuna.

I have a vivid memory of a good shepherd sermon from the church I attended in college because the pastor spent much of the message educating us on the role of a shepherd. I remember them mentioning that in biblical times, the job of shepherd was widely understood as an undesirable role. Even though I don’t have much comparison to a shepherd in my real life, I can imagine this to be true. It’s thankless, dirty and consists of long hours. Even so, shepherds would do anything to protect their sheep. Shepherds protect, guide, and provide for their flock. 

I love the analogy of Jesus as the good shepherd. Jesus walks with all of us through life. We invite Jesus into our thankless moments, our dirty mess, and long hours of prayer, discernment, and worship. As a result, we are reminded of the grace Jesus gives to us and the willingness he extends to seek us out in all moments. He never leaves us stranded or helpless. I also want to point out the shared experience of the flock of sheep. While Jesus attends to our individual needs and will certainly seek us out as the one lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14), there’s this calling to be in community together.  

The priority of our needs varies from day to day. Sometimes we need protection more than guidance. Sometimes we need to be provided for more than we need protection. Our good and loving shepherd is so attentive to us. I hope you feel the good shepherd watching over you today with tenderness and understanding and know that you’re never alone.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, part 1. (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004, p. 150.)