1 Samuel 23:1-29; John 10:1-10; Psalms 114:1-8; Proverbs 24:17-20
NT: ““Truly I tell you, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice…” Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”” (John 10:1-4, 7-10 CSB)
The third “I AM” statement that John recorded Jesus giving was, “I AM the Gate for the sheep.” First century shepherds in the middle-east kept their sheep in folds during the night to keep them safe from predators. The fold was wall of stones that would surround the sheep, with an opening that would allow the sheep to enter and exit. At night, the shepherd would lay his body down in the opening of the fold and was literally the gate that kept the sheep in and the thieves and predators out. Sheep grew accustomed to the voice of their shepherd and could distinguish it from other voices… and so they would only follow the sound of their shepherd. Therefore, a thief couldn’t lead a sheep away from the fold. Jesus is the gate and the fold that guards is the fold of salvation through faith in Him. The only way into the fold is to go through the gate – and the only way into true and lasting salvation is to go through Christ. Those who truly are Christ’s disciples listen only to His voice… and by listening only to His voice, they are protected from being led away by the thief into deception and ultimate death. As disciples of Christ, we must know what the voice of the Lord sounds like… and that only comes by hearing His words and obeying His words. Once we know the voice of the Lord, we will also be able to discern the voice of the thief. The only purpose of the thief (the devil) is to steal people away from the protection of the Shepherd, kill them, and destroy their lives and their legacy. Jesus, on the other hand, has come to offer and secure abundant life to all who place their faith in Him and follow Him.