Jesus says He is the door to His sheep. He is also the gate, the way to salvation. He is the gateway between this world and heaven, between this life and eternal life, between us and the Father.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
I believe in this text, Jesus is talking about false teachers, in particular the Pharisees, who are not teaching according to God’s word, but tradition. To them it was more about religion than a relationship with God. A true shepherd of the flock (a pastor or teacher or church) needs to be a follower of Christ. They go through the door, not sneak in to lead the sheep astray. If the focus is not on Christ, if they don’t teach according to the Bible, if it is more about the church or the leaders, stay away.
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Jesus says He is the only way. Teachers must follow Him to lead others to salvation. It is through Christ alone that we are saved. There is no other way. Anyone teaches otherwise is of the devil. Jesus refers to the teachers of the law and false teachers as thieves. Similar wording is used of the devil. The devil tries to come in anyway he can to deceive others so that they stray from the truth.
The thief comes in to steal…
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
…and to kill…
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
…and to destroy…
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
But Jesus is the true gate, He is the only way to salvation. Follow Him, stay on His path and we will have life and that life is abundant as He says. It doesn’t mean things will go smooth on this earth, but the reward far exceeds anything we face here.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.