Without a gate there is no entrance and people can walk freely anywhere. To enter the public buildings or private places we need to go through gates. Some places have more than one gate and you can enter freely while others, for security reasons, require having sufficient ID and authorization in order to enter. A gate keeper changes according to his/her shift and don't know all people who enter the gates. The gate itself is permanent. It is there 24/7 and has never changed shift. Jesus says he is not just the gate keeper but He is both the gate keeper and the gate to give protection for the sheep. Because of his dedication Jesus claims he is the good shepherd and knows all the sheep of the pen. The term 'Good Shepherd' has its origin in the psalmist 77, 20.
You guided your people like a flock by the hands of Moses and Aaron.
Good Shepherds are the ones who look after the sheep with the same kind of love God and care that God did. The ancient world believed that God appointed good shepherds to tend God's flock. Their love for the sheep derives from God's love.
I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and these shall feed you on knowledge and discretion Jer. 3,15 and again I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; no fear, no terror for them any more, not one shall be lost-23,4
In claiming the good shepherd title Jesus made claims that the power He has to lead people comes from God to shepherd God's people. Jesus serves the sheep by giving them life and protection, at the cost of his own life. Following Jesus means refusing to follow other shepherds. Following Jesus means to accept His protection, love and care. Following Jesus we submit ourselves under God's care and listen to His voice and guidance. We are free to enter in and out of the sheep pen. Following Jesus we have life in Him and we are free to enjoy life even outside the sheep pen and yet still receive his protection with sufficient care and have no fear of wolves or thieves.
Jesus contrasts the good shepherds who legitimately entered through the gate and the thieves who went in illegally. The one who is legitimate enters the gate legally while others entered illegally. The good shepherd guards the fold. He and the sheep enter the gate freely anytime, day and night, out in the open, without force. The thieves often entered by force at night and for their own selfish gains. They do not bring blessing but rather take it away.
Jesus mentions that he has other sheep not of this sheep pen and he would like to gather too. They are the gentiles who listen to his voice. Jesus will bring them into the flock by means of our ministry to bring the Good News to others. We are all one in God's house and Jesus dies to save us all. The human agenda has no power over his death but He lays down his life and takes it up again to obey God, the Father.