Jesus: the Door of the Sheep

Of the seven names of Jesus given in the gospel of John, His name the Door of the Sheep is probably the hardest one for us to understand in our modern Western culture. So to understand what Jesus meant by this we need to examine what life was like for sheep and shepherds in Jesus’ day.

In Palestine, the areas where the sheep would graze were infested with wild beasts. Because of this, each village had a large sheepfold which was protected by a wall often ten or more feet tall. As night fell, the shepherds of the village would lead their sheep through the opening into the sheepfold for their safety. In this place of shelter, the sheep could rest in safety during the night, guarded by one watchman or porter. Most of these sheepfolds did not have a door or gate, so the porter would lie down in the opening so that robbers and wild animals had to go through him to get to the sheep. Then in the morning, when the shepherds returned, each one would call the sheep that belonged to their flock, the sheep would respond to the familiar voice, and the shepherd would lead his flock out to pasture.

As the Door of the Sheep, Jesus is the only door into the kingdom of God, the “sheepfold” of God’s people. John 10:9 promises us, “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

The Greek word “nome” translated pasture here means “the needful supplies for the true life” (from The Blue Letter Bible, Outline of Bible Usage). Jesus will lead us to the green pastures of Psalm 23:2, where all of our needs are met.

Jesus is also the One who protects us against spiritual predators. Nothing is able to touch our lives as His people without His permission. And what He permits, He promises to use for our good (Romans 8:28) and His glory?

And these truths are reason to give Him thanks!

One thought on “Jesus: the Door of the Sheep

  1. Wow! I never heard of this detail that a watchman shepherd had to lie down in the opening, making himself vulnerable to the attacks of wild animals or cruel thieves. It’s like the saying: “over my dead body!” Wow. He’s protecting the sheep by his own life! What a picture of Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

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