John 10:1-10 (NIV): “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
As “judgmental” and “narrow-minded” as it seems to many people today, Jesus IS the only way into the kingdom of heaven. He IS the gate, or, as He said in John 14:6, He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and no one comes to the Father except through HIM. Those who insist on coming into the sheep pen, the kingdom, some other way, are going to be disappointed. Rather than surrender to GOD’s way of getting into heaven, they demand that He accept THEIR way. But God will not do that. He made ONE way into heaven, and opened that way to everyone who wants to come in. But Jesus also clearly told His disciples that the way is narrow, and only a few are going to be willing to walk that way. Human nature, warped and twisted by sin, insists on finding or making its own way, especially when God’s way involves standards and sacrifices that are seen as hard or undesirable.
That God only made one way into the kingdom is not narrow-minded on His part; it is merely the truth. The saddest thing that people can ever do is to look at the gate that God has provided out of His love and grace, and reject that door, insisting that He accept people no matter what gate they want to go through. Only one gate leads into the sheep pen of God’s people; all other gates lead somewhere else. And it is ultimately foolish to try to get into the sheep pen by walking through the gate of the lions’ den!
Father, thank You for providing a way into the kingdom, and thank You for making it available to everyone, from every tribe and language and people and culture. Thank You for the millions each day that come to You through the gate of Jesus, and help us ALL to be more active in helping the others through. Amen.