Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them:
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:6-7)
Read: Isaiah 18:1 – 23:18
Relate: In the west, we live in a culture full of individualism. In other parts of the world the group, the collective whole, is to be more valued than the individual but for most European and American nations, it is the individual who reigns supreme. Some have taken freedom and twisted it to mean individualism. They have taken conformity and warped it into oppression. “Don’t conform. Don’t just go along with the group. If you do, you will just wind up like the Germans in Hitler’s day. Everybody will be marching in the same evil, destructive direction.”
Hogwash. If you are the only person heading in a particular direction. You are probably going the wrong way down a one way street. Frost’s “road less traveled” was still a road. There were still others who traveled it. If you are out there “blazing your own trail” then you aren’t really on a trail, are you? You are probably already lost but if not, you soon will be. I remember going up in the Adirondacks and climbing Algonquin peak. It was absolutely beautiful. The path we took up there wasn’t easy and there was a lot of complaining about the number of rocks strewn everywhere, but none of us even considered getting off the trail. The underbrush might have looked more inviting but we were all wise enough to know it would be much more difficult and it was unlikely to lead us where we wanted to go. The only way to get to the top was to follow the trail.
React: Jesus is the Gate. He is the only Gate. There is no other way in. “But that is so cruel and oppressive. It is exclusive and elitist to say there is no other way to get to God.” If you want to think so, that is your prerogative but it doesn’t make it any less true. You don’t like it? Too bad. Conform.
I would say that it isn’t necessarily exclusive. Anyone can enter the gate. It is open to all, but there is no other way in. There is no other entrance, no other path to eternal life. He is it. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Vishnu, not Moses or Abraham, and certainly not you and I. Jesus is it. He is the only true individualist. All the rest of us, we are destined to be followers. The only question is, who are we following and where is it leading us?
God, I come to You. I come through You. You alone are my Way. You alone are the Truth. You alone are Life. You are the Gate. In those times when I long to go my own way, woo me back. Give me the wisdom to understand why it is best to stay on Your path. Give me the desire to go nowhere else. Give me the focus to keep following after only You. One day I will be with You forever. Until that day help me to follow You, and to go through You in everything.