Daily Reading: John 10:11–18

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

“Sheep are really not very bright!” I said as I saw sheep for the first time. I had just gotten my learner’s permit and was driving a full-size van home from vacation in Colorado. When the sheep fence broke, the ranch hands had the giant task of wrangling the sheep. This seemed easy from my driver’s-side window.

In action, it proved a horrendous task for the herdsmen. Sheep are not brilliant animals. They are cuddly and provide some great resources, but they are not cunning or naturally aware of things that can hurt them, for example, a full-size van.

In ancient days, sheep pens didn’t have gates. The fences had shards built into the top of the them to keep intruders out. During the night, the shepherd would sleep in the open part of the fence. His body became the gate. If someone were to try to steal the sheep, they would have to go through the shepherd first. When Jesus said He laid down His life for the sheep, He meant He would lie down and protect the flock as they slept in safety. He would therefore lay down His life for his sheep if someone tried to steal them away.

Jesus compared us to sheep. Sometimes we can’t protect ourselves. The Gatekeeper can keep us from harm, and from full-size vans.

Recognize God’s protection as your Gatekeeper.

Mollie Bond works in radio as an assistant producer. Watching snowflakes slows her down.