THEME: The Gatekeeper

BY: Deacon Bill Frere



Gospel – John 10:1-10

Once upon a time a rich king held a grand feast. All was ready except for one dish; he wanted his favorite fish as the main course. So he offered a reward for anyone who could catch the fish and bring it to him. One lucky fisherman caught the fish and brought it to the palace. But the gatekeeper would not let him enter. Greedy by nature, he would only allow the fisherman to enter if he shared with him the king’s reward. The fisherman agreed. So the fisherman brought the fish to the king and the king asked what reward he would like. The fisherman replied “I want 100 lashes of the whip.” The king was dumbfounded but agreed. So he ordered his servant to whip him but gently. When he got to the 50th lash, the fisherman asked him to stop. He cried out that he had a partner and he should ‘share’ the reward. So the gatekeeper was brought before the king and the fisherman told the whole story of the greediness of the gatekeeper. And so the gatekeeper received 50 lashes, but not so gently. And the fisherman was given a generous reward!

I suppose this is a good example of a bad gatekeeper, someone entrusted with a job but thinks only of himself. Certainly not the sort of gatekeeper that Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel!

A little background! Shepherding is a full-time job; there are no days (or nights) off! After a full day of leading the sheep through pasture land, the shepherd brings them into a corral or cave for the night. But there is no real gate. The shepherd lies down at the entrance and becomes a living gate to protect them from any predators or robbers. Anything that wants to attack his sheep has to face him first! A shepherd literally lays down his life for his sheep.

Jesus truly is the Good Shepherd; He knows His sheep and we know Him. Throughout our lives, He guides us, feeds us, and protects us. Even when we are so stubborn that we refuse to listen, when we want to go our own way, to ignore His direction, He gently calls us back to Him, calms our fears, stays with us and leads us to restful waters. We are weak but His strength gives us courage. We are defenseless but day and night He protects us, sacrificing His own life for our life eternal.

Deacon Bill Frere

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