Today I was reading John, chapter 10. In v. 1-4 He says, “1Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." (NIV)
Jesus continues through verse 18 to explain this parable by saying He is the door, and He is the shepherd. How can He be both the gate and the shepherd? This is difficult for me to understand unless each is taken individually as a picture of who Jesus is.
As I was reading this passage this morning, though, I was struck by v. 3. For some reason I had never read that Jesus waits for the gatekeeper to open the door for Him to go into the sheep, so I read it in several translations. Some of them say "watchman", or sometimes "doorkeeper," instead of "gatekeeper." I looked up the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words for watchman, and discovered they mean: to hedge about, guard, protect, attend to, keep, observe, preserve, save, to await, to keep watch, to guard, to peer into the distance.
Doesn't the Bible say that we are to be watchmen? This passage seems to indicate that Jesus, as the shepherd, has given us the privilege of working with Him to watch over and guard the sheep by tending the gate.
But I was also thinking that since Jesus is also the gate, then the Holy Spirit is the gatekeeper. As the Holy Spirit works in hearts to prepare them, He opens the way for Jesus to come in.
The Bible is rich in revelation, isn't it? Oh, that my eyes would be opened to see! How I want to go deeper and understand more! I remember Agnes Sanford comparing the Bible to an onion. She said there are many layers--as one is peeled off, another is revealed. I love that, don't you?
Please help me, Lord, to peel off the layers.