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Women World Leaders' Podcast

Mar 29, 2023

Jesus is the gate. Many in the world try to trick us into following blindly. This is no different today than in Jesus’ day. And yet Jesus continues to stand guard – protecting His sheep from those who attempt to kill, steal, and destroy the amazing future He has prepared for us. (John 10:1-10)


Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins. I am so happy you have joined us today.

It is March 2023 as I record this, and I hope you have received your copy of Voice of Truth! Voice of Truth is our quarterly magazine that is full of scripture, stories, and art that all shine a bright light on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are now in our third year of Voice of Truth, and God has blessed thousands through this magazine. We have had scores of contributors from all over the world – women who are passionate about sharing the gospel with others. We do send out the physical magazine to each of our monthly contributors as a thank you, but we also make the digital version available to anyone to read for free on our website. To check it out, visit, and click on Voice of Truth under our Resources tab. There you will find access to all of our back issues. And while you are on the website, if you want a free physical copy of the magazine, click on the donate tab and become a monthly donor. As a 501c3 non-profit, your donation is what allows us to keep this ministry running – to provide these podcasts, our events, and monthly leadership connects and seminars – all meant to empower YOU to walk in your God-given purpose.

This is the Wednesday edition of our podcast, when we take a few minutes to dive into God’s Word together and ask Him to show us what He wants us to know today. God’s Word is living and active, which means it is relevant at every moment and in every circumstance. It is inspired and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is longing to work in each of our lives every single day. With that in mind, before we begin our study today from the gospel of John, chapter 10, verses 1-10, let’s pray.

Dear Most Holy God, We are honored to come before you today to learn from your Word. Holy Spirit, as we continue to study the gospels, I ask you to do a marvelous work: open our minds so that we will completely understand the words Jesus spoke in this passage that John so obediently recorded. Open our hearts and connect the words on the page with the wisdom you want us to gain. I ask a blessing on each of us as we stand in your presence today, learning from and growing in you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Recently, we studied the 9th chapter of the book John. You may remember that chapter 9 gives the account of Jesus and His disciples as they left the synagogue. They came across a beggar who had been blind from birth, and Jesus healed him. The process of healing is always miraculous, but what actually happened was beyond a healing. Because the man had NEVER been able to see, Jesus actually CREATED the man’s vision – making a way for him to see for the first time ever. This was quite the picture of the touch of God – and the man knew it. Although he didn’t know WHO Jesus was, he knew that Jesus was from God.

Because of this healing, however, the Pharisees came against Jesus, saying that it was unlawful for Him to heal on the Sabbath. And when the Pharisees questioned the man about who had healed him, he told them his name was Jesus, and he stood up for Him, saying that Jesus couldn’t be a sinner, because a sinner could not possibly perform such a miraculous sign. The man knew what he knew, and he stood his ground. The Pharisees reacted by expelling the previously blind man from the synagogue.

At that point, Jesus found the man and revealed Himself to him, telling him that not only was He FROM God, but He was OF God. Jesus proclaimed Himself the promised Messiah, the Son of Man.

All of this is important as we dive into today’s scripture because it is the backdrop for Jesus’ teaching. So let’s begin with Jesus’ words as recorded in John 10 from the New Living Translation, beginning in verse 1.

 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!

The illustration of the sheep and the shepherd is used throughout the Bible. Humanity is portrayed as the sheep – who need constant guidance and care just to survive. And as far back as the book of Isaiah, God is hailed as our shepherd…Isaiah 40:11-12 says…

Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
    He will rule with a powerful arm.
    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
    He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
    He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

So as Jesus does a follow-up teaching to the man He had healed and all those who witnessed the aftermath of the man’s expulsion from the synagogue, Jesus uses the sheephold as a symbol of Israel.

There were two types of sheepholds in Jesus’ day…one type was typical in the city and a different kind was prevalent in the countryside. Jesus begins his teaching by referencing the sheephold in the countryside, which would have likely been a built-up circle of rocks with a single opening. As the shepherds were out with their sheep and dusk fell upon them, they would lead their sheep into this rocked-in barrier to keep them safe from thieves and predators throughout the night. Then one of the shepherds, or an undershepherd, would lie across the only opening, keeping those who had no place among the sheep from entering.

The opening, or the gate, would be easy to walk through for those who belonged, but those without rights would have to use their ingenuity to climb over the rocks without being detected in order to get in.

With that picture in mind, let’s read on…

 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Knowing that we MIGHT need not understand exactly what He was saying, Jesus explained further…verse 6…

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.

Jesus’ listeners were craving to understand – they had been faithfully waiting for their Messiah for centuries - following the teachings of the Pharisees and living by the Jewish laws. And then they saw Jesus heal a man who had been blind from birth – a sign given by the prophets of the Messiah. And yet the Pharisees – those they were to listen to, had thrown this man out of the synagogue. It was SUCH a conflicting message that surely the people didn’t know what to think.

But then Jesus gave them this one sentence that made it all clear – you can almost sense the relief and wonder as their sense of realization clicked into place.

Israel was the sheephold. And they were God’s people – it was recognized far and wide that the people of Israel were protected and cared for by the most powerful God ever.

And Jesus now proclaimed – I am the Gate. I am THE ONE who lets only the true Shepherd in. I am the one who keeps you safe. I am the one who is accountable to God. Jesus continues…

 All who came before me[a] were thieves and robbers.

Jesus wasn’t the first man who claimed to be the Messiah. And the Pharisees and Sadducees who had fallen away from God and put themselves on a pedestal, cracking their whips of rules and regulations against the people, were not protecting or guiding the sheep as a shepherd should. They, in fact, were the thieves and robbers, finagling their way into the sheephold so they could trick the flock into following them.

But those who were truly called to follow God, those who were truly part of His flock, like the man whose sight was now healed, were not fooled by the strong hand and fierce whip of the Pharisees. Jesus makes that plain, saying…

But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] 

What a revelation of freedom! The people no longer had to bow to the impossible-to-follow rules. In fact, all they had to do was follow the calling that had been tugging at their hearts – they only had to follow Jesus. He would open the gate and lead them. Jesus said…

They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 

When we follow Jesus, when we allow Him to guide us, we can come and go freely in complete safety and protection.

Jesus has called you to His side. He hems you in and protects you as you rest. He leads you to nourishment and refreshing water. He calls you by name, and instructs you where to go.

I can remember going on vacation with my parents as a child. Every day would bring a new adventure: a hike to a waterfall, a stop at a museum, food cooked over an open fire as we camped. Never was I worried and never did I have to figure anything out. My parents led me. They researched and planned and paid for everything. I was just along for the ride – full of wonder and awe at the amazing things I saw and experienced.

I was the sheep – if danger was around me, I never sensed it. If questions arose as to where we were going next, I never thought to ask – because I had faith in my parents. I KNEW that they had it all in control. As a parent now, I recognize that maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t have it all in control. But the analogy is that our GOD, our GATEKEEPER, IS and always will be in complete control. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will ALWAYS lead us and guide us. He will call us by name, and as we listen to Him intently, He assures us that we WILL know the sound of His voice.

But not everyone who claims to be holy is the trustworthy gatekeeper who can indeed keep us safe. ONLY Jesus has the authority to guard the gate…And if we don’t listen carefully to Him, we will be in danger of being attacked by the thief and the robber. There ARE thieves in our churches who climb over the rocks and try to claim the status of Jesus Himself. There are robbers who finagle their way into the sheephold and try to claim their unrightful place in our lives. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing who, under the guise of religion, will stop at nothing to trick us into living by the world’s ways, tempting us to climb up on OUR pedestals and sit in judgment of others.

In this scripture, in retrospect, it is clear to see that the Pharisees were against Jesus and were doing everything they could to turn the people, including the now-healed formerly-blind man, against Him. But we must remember that Pharisee-like people are so common in today’s world – they conspire and scheme to destroy you and pit you against those God calls you to love. Only God can call His sheep – our job is to stick together as His flock and welcome all the other sheep He brings in – no matter how different they may look to us.

John 10:10 says it clearly…

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Jesus is standing at the gate, protecting you, and prepared to lead you to a rich and satisfying life. You are safe in His presence. You can trust HIM.

What do you need to trust Jesus with today? What in your life seems so out of sorts that you feel like you will never untangle the mess before you?

What do you need to let go of and allow Jesus, THE Gate, to take full control of?

Child of God – you do not need to worry – all you need to do is follow the sound of God’s voice. He will guide you and protect you and lead you down a path full of wonder and awe meant just for you.

Let’s pray.

Dear Most Holy God – thank you for being our gate. Thank you for protecting us within the sheepfold of God’s love. Thank you for planning and building the boundaries around us even as you allow us freedom in the coming and going. Thank you for knowing our names and for allowing us to clearly recognize your voice. Jesus, we claim your promise, that as we follow you, you will give us, your humble sheep, a rich and satisfying life. We love you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.