I Am The Door… (Day Twenty One John 10:7)

“I am the door for the sheep.” (John 10:7 NET)

For years I thought about this verse in the context of my American upbringing.  Despite growing up on a large working farm and ranch, I still had little concept of what it actually meant to be a shepherd.  When Jesus said he was the door for the sheep I just assumed that essentially meant that this statement was similar to the one he makes in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.”  While this is true to the main concept of the point, Jesus’ audience would have understood this statement in a different way.   Years later I read the following commentary which brought even more clarity to these words of Christ.

“After a shepherd’s flock has been separated from the other sheep, he takes them to pasture. Near the pasture is an enclosure for the sheep. The shepherd takes his place in the doorway or entrance and functions as a door or gate. The sheep can go out to the pasture in front of the enclosure, or if afraid, they can retreat into the security of the enclosure. The spiritual meaning is that Jesus is the only Gate by which people can enter into God’s provision for them.”[1]

I later learned that it was common practice during the time of Christ for the shepherds to literally sleep in the opening of the pen his herd resided in.  There was no gate other than the shepherd.  The picture Jesus paints here is one that tells us that he is extremely invested in His herd.  He is not “a gate” He is “the gate.”  He is not “a way” He is indeed “the way.”  Jesus is the good shepherd who lays His life down for His sheep.  How special this makes me feel to contemplate the power of this fact.  My savior is my protector in every situation, He is the gate!  When the enemy approaches I need not prepare a defense but rather run to my defender.  The same is true for all who believe and are children of our most loving father. Praise God for our good Shepherd! Praise Him this very day!


[1]John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. Accordance electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983), n.p.

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About Pastor Pete

Pete is the senior Pastor of Cowboy Fellowship in Pleasanton Texas. He is also the author of The Absolute Basics of Christianity, The Living Lamp, and a co-author of The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study series.
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2 Responses to I Am The Door… (Day Twenty One John 10:7)

  1. evaasbury says:

    The Gate, The Way. After working with Larry on a Ranch and having to work sheep. You come to realize this passage. You look at these sheep and their actions and standing in the gate just to see how they will do. And you see too why we do need a Sheperd over us. He is the The Way and The Gate.

  2. Royce Hart says:

    That’s a great picture, and it’s clearer with the explanation. Thank you for taking the time to describe what Jesus’ contemporaries saw and took for granted about sheep and shepherding.

    My family never kept sheep, but we had some goats in a holding pen made of railroad ties. The railroad ties were set deep in the ground. We had a couple of rams that earned their name; for whatever reason, they loved to rear up and pound their heads into the railroad ties. They had a favorite one picked out; they repeatedly struck it hard enough that, eventually, it freely wobbled six inches front to back. 

    All that to say, Jesus called us sheep, not goats. Not really sure if sheep have any nasty destructive tendencies – most of the Bible’s word pictures paint them as gentle, easily frightened, defenseless, and desperately stupid. Utterly dependent upon the shepherd. 

    Then there’s the goat that Aaron is supposed to transfer the sins of the people to (Leviticus 16:20-22). Some guy was supposed to take this accursed goat out into the wasteland, presumably to die. I’ll bet that was an ordeal. 

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