The Pastor’s Thoughts — April 30, 2023, 4th Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“I am the gate for the sheep.”

“Who are you?” That question was asked of Jesus several times during His passion. The chief priests asked Him. Pilate asked Him. The chief priests were trying to get Jesus to say He was God. Pilate was trying to get Jesus to say whether He was a King. Jesus answered them, but not directly. To understand Jesus, the chief priests and Pilate needed to listen to Him with faith, which they lacked.

Jesus asked His disciples who they say that He is, and Peter said: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Peter understood who Jesus is because of his faith. But who does Jesus say that He is? Jesus had said that anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate is a thief. Now He says that ‘I am the gate for the sheep.’

Jesus told the Apostle Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We see again that Jesus is the “gate” through which we enter, to come to the Father. How do we, the sheep, know when we have arrived at the “gate”? Jesus also answers this question, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.” We know Jesus is the Good Shepherd that we should follow, because He said, “I will lay down my life for the sheep.”

The painful and trying history of the Israelites led them to find comfort in a God who would shepherd them as His sheep. A shepherd would watch over his sheep at night in a secure enclosure, where he would lie down across the gate. He would defend his sheep with his very life. Jesus loved them, and us, with that shepherd’s love.

Sheep know their shepherd’s voice and will only follow him. That is why the Apostles dropped everything and followed Jesus when He called each of them. That is why we should do the same. We know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who calls us to enter Him, the gate into eternal life.

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