Theologians At Lunch

The Gate for the Sheep: with Cate Vose

Throughout Advent, we have been reflecting on the different titles of Jesus. One of the strangest ways that Jesus refers to himself, is being the Gate for the Sheep. In the ancient near east, grazing sheep involved letting them roam over hillsides and often involved moving a long way in search of fodder. At night time, the shepherd would construct a rough pen out of thorn bushes, to keep the sheep safe, and then he or she would lie down in the gap where there would normally be a gate; to keep the sheep safe. Any predators would literally have to go through the shepherd to get to the sheep.

When Jesus calls himself this, he was drawing his listeners’ attention to the radical freedom which comes from trusting the strength and guidance of the Shepherd. I am convinced that we cannot be freed from our fears and addictions until we know that we know that we know, deep in our souls, the voice of the Good Shepherd.  Because if we don’t know his voice, we can get lost.  But if we learn the shape, the tone, the hallmarks of his voice; he will lead us deeper and deeper into freedom if only we have the willingness to follow him.

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash