John 10:7-9 (ANIV)
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
Or, kept safe
TIME OF DAY:
Defused sunlight is coming from the left, casting slight shadows below the figure & sheep.
This is quite a literal interpretation of Jesus’ statement “I tell you the truth, I am the gate…”
Behind Jesus there are two stone gate posts, and walls.
I enjoyed drawing the expressions on the adoring sheep!
This is the third of 7 famous statements that Jesus made, starting with “I am…”.
01. The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
02. The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
03. The Gate
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
04. The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
05. The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
06. The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
07. The Vine
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
What might Jesus have meant by referring to himself as the gate?
Jesus’ statement “I am the gate,” is the third of seven “I am” declarations of Jesus, which are only found in John’s Gospel & which point to His unique, divine identity and purpose. In this particular “I am” statement, Jesus speaks to people who were very familiar with sheep, shepherds, farming, and sheep pens. His listeners would instantly understand the metaphor he was using, whilst modern readers (unless they are sheep farmers) might find this metaphor a little more difficult to comprehend.
Point 01. Jesus said that He is “THE gate,” not “a gate” (some translations use “door” instead”), from which we can assume that he means that he provides the exclusive way to salvation. Jesus affirms not only that he is our Shepherd (who leads us into the safety of the “sheepfold”, but that He is the ONLY door by which we may enter and be saved (John 10:9). Jesus is the only means we have of receiving eternal life (John 3:16). There is no other way.
Point 02. In Biblical times there were two kinds of sheepfolds or pens in use. The first was a public sheepfold found in/near walled cities and villages; large enough to hold several flocks of sheep, this sheep pen would have a gatekeeper, whose duty it was to guard the gate during the night. Then, in the morning, he would recognize the shepherd who owned the sheep being kept temporality in the public pen, & allow them to take their flock out to graze.
Point 03. The second kind of sheep pen was built in the countryside, & was little more than a rough circle/rectangle of rocks piled into walls, with a small open space for the sheep to get in & out. At dusk the shepherd would lead his flock into the enclosure, to keep them from wandering away, & to keep predators out at night. The entrance was simply an opening, so the shepherd acted as the “gate” all through the long, cold night, keeping his sheep safe.
Point 04. In the west we use sheep dogs to drive sheep where the farmer wants them to go. In the Middle East, a shepherd calls his sheep, & leads them: the sheep know the shepherd’s voice, and will only follow him; they will run away from someone who’s voice they do not recognize. Of all domesticated animals, sheep are the most helpless; grazing & wandering from place to place, often becoming lost. Sheep have little sense of direction, but are exceptionally good at finding small holes in fencing to push through & escape! Sheep tend to follow one another around, or else scatter in opposite directions!
Point 05. Jesus contrasts Himself with the religious leaders of his day, whom he described as “thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). Jesus makes it clear that any religious leader who offers salvation other than the teachings of Christ is a “thief” and a “robber.”
Point 06. Jesus is both our Shepherd and the Door to the sheepfold who provides for all our needs. A Christian is one who believes the gospel (see Hebrews 11:6) and who also repents of sin (see Luke 13:3). In so doing that person is assured of having entered by “the gate”, & being “in the fold”. 1 Peter 5:8 assures us that our world is full of predators whose sole intent is to destroy us, however, we are always under Christ’s protection.