Jesus the Shepherd and the Gate
The figure of the ‘Good Shepherd’ is the oldest image of Christ depicted in the catacombs of Rome. It was drawn and etched on the underground burial sites, where the earliest Christian martyrs are buried. It was a sign of hope and comfort in the risen Lord.
Jesus amplifies that image by adding that He is also the Sheepgate. (Jn. 10:7) This refers to the entrance to the pen where the sheep were kept at night to protect them from wild animals and thieves. Frequently the ‘gate’ was a shepherd who would lay down across the opening. As ‘the gate’, Jesus shows that He is willing to lay down His life for us too.
These images tell us something about who Jesus is for us. But they also tell us what Jesus wants us to be for each other.
How is Jesus your Good Shepherd? (Pause and reflect). Besides Jesus, can you name others who are good shepherds to you? Think of people for whom you have been a good shepherd? Lastly, who lays down his/her life for you and how do you lay down your life for others?