Rev. Daniel Eggold
Apr 27, 2020
Acts 2:42–47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19–25; John 10:1–10
As he prepared to return home near the end of three years in prison, the man wrote to the church. Before his arrest, he had worshiped, attended Bible study, and played guitar in the church music program. While an inmate, he attended chapel services and showed up at Bible study regularly. He was ready and hopeful to return to his church. Days before his release, he received a letter from the church. It read: “We cannot allow you to fellowship with us until our mission committee meets to decide whether to admit you.”
“I am the gate,” says Jesus, the shepherd and the bringer of life. Jesus is the one who opens the way. Many are barred from entrance and denied community because of who they are, how they behave, where they come from, what they’ve done, how they look, or what they believe. For all who suffer rejection, it is shocking to hear Jesus say, “I am the gate, and I came to bring abundant life to all my sheep.” We may think, “Really? Me? Can it be so?”
To the religious leaders who saw themselves as gatekeepers, Jesus said: “No! I am the gate, and the gate is open. All who are longing for mercy, come this way. Enough of those who kill your hope, destroy your spirit, steal your worth! They are thieves and bandits in self-righteous disguise.”
And to the church, Jesus speaks this unchanging word: “I am the gate. The gate is open, bringing forgiveness and mercy to all. There are no exceptions and no exclusions. So, my sheep, pour my wine, break my bread, splash my water, serve my meal, spend my life, be my body, welcome all as my own. The gate is open.”
O God our shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk in certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.