It is interesting that the preposition ‘through’ is closely linked to all the ‘attributes of life’ as they are presented by Jesus in John’s gospel. The statement: ‘as He is, we are in this world’ (1) should likewise always be linked with ‘through’. If I want to live in this world as He is in this world, I realize that this means a 100% dependency on Him working ‘through’ me, and I ‘through’ Him. Any attempt to imitate Him will sooner or later be exposed as fake. He was in this world as a vulnerable human being. So are his followers today. He faced temptations (2), grieved his shortcomings (3) and even asked to be released from his mission if it could be avoided (4).
The gate as an attribute of the “I am” makes ‘through’ even more obvious:
“Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.”
Stop a while; ‘obvious’ is perhaps not the correct word if we look at the context. Jesus introduced the ‘gate-image’ in the very beginning of the chapter, and John writes “Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them” (v. 6).
I am not sure that it became clearer for them when Jesus introduced himself as the gate. What is ‘obvious’ is that a gate is something that you walk through. For the sheep it meant a passage to safety. And then Jesus confirms what his speech is all about:
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
‘In’ to Him, ‘out’ to live in this world – every day, every moment. If He is in this world as the gate, then opening the gate for people so that they can enter in to Him and find salvation, should also be an attribute of my life. A very simple picture, so easy to understand, however, so hard to live out. It was hard for Jesus too, but it brought life, and it still does.
‘Manna’ for today:
The gate of life is still open
(1) 1 John 4:17b
(2) Matthew 4:1-11
(3) Matthew 23:37-39
(4) Mark 14:36
Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.