September 6 I Friday
1 Corinthians 15:29-58
“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” —John 10:9
We once hosted a mayoral debate at the Peoples Church in Toronto and one of the candidates asked a member of the church, “What denomination does this church belong to?” The church member replied, “We belong to no denomination. We are an independent Christian church.” The candidate then said, “You mean any Christian can come to this church?” And the member responded, “No, any person can come to this church.” This response rings true with Jesus who said, “whoever enters through Me will be saved” (John 10:9). It does not matter what our background is or what our history may be. The Good Shepherd invites everyone to enter in.
Yet, Jesus says, “I am the gate” (John 10:9) or as other translations say, “I am the door.” When Jesus says, “I am the door,” He does not mean, “I am a block of wood with a handle on it.” The Greek word used in this phrase is thura, which neither means door nor gate but an opening, an entrance, a passageway into something or a vestibule. This is a simple and commonplace metaphor that Jesus was using, “I am the gate”—“I am the access point”—when He tells us, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7). Jesus is the access point. If sheep are going to come into whatever the fold represents, they would have to go through Him.
There is a sense of exclusivity in Jesus’s statement “I am the gate” that is contrary to a common myth that all religions are basically the same. This common myth that says we are all climbing different paths up the same mountain and converge at the top, where we look back and realize, although our experiences on the path were different, we are all actually heading the same direction and we all end up in the same place. But not according to Jesus, which is why Peter tells us, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be
saved” (Acts 4:12). As Jesus tells us, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
Although Jesus’s statement “I am the gate” is exclusive, the part that follows, “whoever enters through me will be saved,” demonstrates inclusive language: that any man, woman, boy or girl is a candidate for fellowship and friendship with Jesus Christ and can come into a living relationship with Him. Not all paths will lead to salvation but Jesus makes known to us that He is the gate and He welcomes us all into His fold.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for welcoming me into Your fold. May I mirror Your welcoming gate by inviting others to You.
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