“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.” John 10:9 (NLT)
Early in my childhood, I went through a traumatic experience as an 11 year old. One summer, as with almost every summer of my childhood, we took a little vacation. But this vacation was special in that it was to Disney World, rather than the other more “explorative” vacations we took. That was what Dad called them when we were too young to understand that we were lost half of the time.
So we packed up the family: my mother, father, older sister (Whitney) and brother (JM), and the young one of the bunch, 6 year old Alex. We spent about 5 days in the parks that Disney had to offer and stayed at one of the Themed resorts. Every day we would load up on a tram and ride it to a different park from the day before.
There was this one particular instance that I remember so vividly – Animal Kingdom. Now, if you have ever been to this park, you know that it is a wondrous park. There is so much to do, and the overall theme of the park is amazing! There was one ride my brother and I were very fond of – the safari. Basically you would jump on a safari truck and blaze through a safari trail looking at all sorts of exotic animals. It was a blast!
That was, until my little brother started crying in the middle of the line! Of course, my parents sorta used this as an excuse to go back to the hotel and take that nap they had been thinking about since after lunch. My brother and I were not having it, though. We convinced our parents to allow us to stay in the park and ride some more rides before heading back to the resort. With many words, they allowed us to stay.
So we hung around and had a blast. We rode rides that we couldn’t before because of my little brother and just had the greatest time bonding. Then, when dark finally started to show, we headed to the trams to get back to our resort. But then something happened.
See, those trams have one drawback. They are cooled, super comfortable, tinted, quiet, and roomy. The drawback? Well, you put a 11 year old in one of those trams after a very long day having fun, the next thing they have is an really, really old man shaking them awake at the tram depot!
See, turns out that when you fall asleep on the tram and your brother leaves you, you will eventually end up somewhere you never intended to go, somewhere you weren’t designed to spend your time. But then when you get there, there is someone who is paid to just walk around and make sure that there aren’t any 11 year olds sleeping on one of the trains.
I call it traumatic, but in reality it isn’t really that lost. That is a mild case of being lost – like lose your mom in Walmart, lost. It may seem like it is scary and that you will never find your way back, but there is always a path back.
Then there are times where it is life or death. When you are backpacking though the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and you lose your compass and map. When you are skiing the Northern slopes of North Carolina and crash and lose your skis. Situations like these require experts. They require trained and seasoned people who deal with these situations on a daily level. They jump into the fray, fend off the animals, and take care of you.
But then there are situations where only one person can fix – a situation that is more perilous than being lost on a mountain. See, all of these people that I have described get paid in some way, they receive benefits from the job.
But Jesus receives no benefits. He gets no pay. No severance package. No perks of the job. In fact, he pays for his job! His blood was the price for the purpose of his coming. His provoking and intense love for us broke through the chains and bondage of Sin. Sin was a separation, a brick wall between us and God. Instead of breaking that wall down or building a bridge, Jesus stepped in the place of the gap. He WAS the bridge, he WAS the ladder. It was his life that cost, not ours. All he is seeking is you.
Jesus, in love, searched for you when you were lost. In His love, join Christ in the search for those who need to claim Jesus as their shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (NLT)
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.” Ezekiel 34:11-12 (NLT)