In this week’s sermon from Shepherd of the Hills, we explore Chapter 9 of the Book of John, where Jesus heals a blind man and is criticized by the Pharisees. Jesus describes himself as the gate for the sheep, and only those who know his voice will follow him. He also uses metaphors to describe himself as the bread of life and the light of the world.
The sermon focuses on how gates can both keep people out and let people in. Jesus is the gate through which we enter, not the gate that keeps us out. Unfortunately, the church has often used the image of Christ as a gate to exclude people based on appearance, socioeconomic status, race, sexual identity, politics, or theology. The message argues that this is not the way of Christ and shares stories of people who found more grace in unexpected places than in their local churches.
Jesus invites everyone to follow him, and the church should welcome all people who want to come inside the gate. The gate is not meant to control who gets in or out but to allow everyone to find pasture and salvation. This sermon challenges us to reflect on how we can be more inclusive and welcoming, following the example of Jesus as the gate through which all are invited to enter.