So gates …do they keep things in or keep them out? I remember on the ranches I worked early on in my life, one of the first rules was to never…ever…leave a gate open. You just don’t do it. In many cases the gate fills two needs. It keeps things in and keeps things out. The gate that initially came to mind was from the first “`Jurassic Park” movie. The gate was huge, intimidating, with red and green warning lights, and huge electrical cables across to top. There are all manner of gates, small, large, rustic, beautiful, electrified and gentrified.
So why, then, does Jesus utilize the term as he describes himself? This scripture, among the first of the “I Am” statements, is about life and even life saving. It is about keeping some from harm, but it’s also about opening to something new, something more, a life that is truly alive. That’s the gate metaphor; moving on a certain path that takes us from something behind into something ahead. Jesus is the entry point to a life and a world that is transformed, alive again, and brings life in a new and vibrant way. So we will examine gates today; what is to be kept in and what is to be kept out. And just a quick reminder; in the time of Jesus, it was believed that God was separated from the people by a massive leather curtain, unaccessible in any and every way. Jesus then makes this statement of being the gate to something on the other side; a new understanding of God as relational, not distant.
According to Jesus, abundant life is no longer due to dead sacrifices. It’s about being filled, ignited, by God and God’s love. And, by the way, I’ll be utilizing another life-saving device to examine much of this. To prepare please read John 10: 7-10.