John 10:7-10 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Where do babies come from? Do you remember asking that question? Have you ever been asked that question? It is very likely the response given to you and your response was tailored to fit the age and intellectual understanding of the questioner. In the not too distant past it was acceptable not only to shade the truth but to replace it with a fairytale all under the guise of protecting innocence. We know better these days but we still leverage the truth by often presenting it in the form of a softer, gentler analogy, rather than the hard facts. It is important to note that this approach to enlightenment is done only out of love and is meant to educate the questioner at their level of understanding. The truth is often rejected when it is not understood.
In today’s passage JESUS takes such an approach in conveying four incredible facts. First, HE is GOD in the flesh, here and in person. The use of the words “I AM” is not an accident. Second, HE is the one, the Messiah, humankind’s only path to the creator of the universe, “the Gate.” Third, HE provides a warning to us to be alert to the powers of evil whose mission is destruction. Fourth, HE discloses to us HIS mission of love, to bring protection and peace to a broken world and most importantly the revelation of truth.
In the movie “The Truman Show” the main character played by Jim Carey literally crashes into the truth that his entire life is in fact a reality TV show. Everything he believes real is an illusion. The trees in his front yard have no roots, his lawn is artificial grass. Even the beach and the sunsets he loves so much are all just projections and piped in sound effects. His initial reaction is complete devastation, but then through the ashes of the props and paper-mache the reality of who he really is crystallizes and with this knowledge comes life, real life… abundant life.
This world is saturated with powerful images and illusions filled with many paths and situations that seem so real. Often we cannot see that the burdens we stress and fret over are really blessings and opportunities to find pasture. The forces designed to trick us into miserable meaningless living are real. But their most powerful weapon is still only a trick. Our LORD lived, died, and is living right now so that we could know the truth and not be fooled. HE wants us to live, really live!
Heavenly FATHER as we are bombarded today with the fragments and shrapnel of this dark and broken world shine YOUR light on our hearts and open our eyes to the brilliant vibrant green pastures of the living universe that YOU have prepared exclusively for us. Remind us of who we really are and in every situation grant us access to YOUR power, understanding, and truth. In CHRIST's name we pray. Amen.