John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. (NIV)
John 10:7 – Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. (NIV)
Recently, I attempted to visit a friend who lived in a gated community. It was after 6:00 p.m., and the gate was locked. Not being familiar with how to get permission to open the gate, I was unable to complete my visit.
This reminded me that Jesus talked about gates. In fact, He said He was "the gate". Many of the gates in His day were to sheepfolds. He describes the characteristics of a good shepherd as one with authority to enter the gate; one who knows and is known by the sheep; one who goes ahead of the flock and whom the sheep follow willingly.
Jesus described Himself as the gate and also as the shepherd — the one who goes before the sheep and leads them because they know his voice.
If I had known the right procedures to follow, I could have visited my friend, even though the gate was closed; but I did not know the correct procedure.
As Christians, we should not be caught spiritually in such circumstances. If we know the Gatekeeper, we should be able to enter at any time of the day or night. We are under His protection at all times. We are called to recognize His voice and to follow His instructions. The sheep are keen animals. They recognize their master's voice. They will not follow a stranger. Are we as smart as the sheep when it comes to recognizing and following the right Shepherd?
Prayer: Lord, grant us wisdom and discernment that we may recognize the voice of the Shepherd and follow only Him. There are many voices urging us to follow them, but You alone are the One Who opens the gate and allows passage in to and out from the community within. Like sheep, may our ears be attuned to recognize Your voice. Amen.