John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Previously, Jesus has likened himself to the shepherd of the sheep. The sheep know his voice and willingly follow him. The sheep do not have to be coerced or threatened. They freely follow– just as Jesus followers do so him.
The metaphor now shifts in v7. A further point is made as we hear another ‘I am’ statement from Jesus— perhaps less celebrated than the shepherd metaphor. As the gate, Jesus has a protective role in relation to the sheep. He keeps them safe from those who would steal them away. By implication, the Pharisees are those who would harm the sheep. He saves them and he gives them freedom to come and go to pasture.
So Jesus’ “sheep” freely choose to follow him, and as the ‘gate,’ Jesus protects them.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you that I can trust you to call me and to protect me. I delight to be a member of your flock. Amen.