Gates of Paradise

Gates of Paradise

Dennis Fisher

John 10:1-9

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
John 10:9

Italian artist Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378–1455) spent years skillfully crafting images of Jesus’ life into the bronze doors of Italy’s Florence Baptistery. These bronze reliefs were so moving that Michelangelo called them the Gates of Paradise. As an artistic treasure, the doors greet visitors with echoes of the gospel story. It was Jesus who said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). On the night before His crucifixion, He told His disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6). Within a few hours Jesus would say to one of the criminals being crucified at His side, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The apostle Peter a few weeks later boldly proclaimed to those who had called for Jesus’ death that “there is no other name under heaven . . . by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Years later, the apostle Paul wrote that there is only one mediator between God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). The gates of paradise are found in the Savior who offers everlasting life to all who believe and come to Him. Enter into the joy of His salvation.

I needed a mediator because of my sin. Thank You, Jesus, for being the way to the Father by Your death and resurrection. I will be forever grateful.

Jesus died in our place to give us His peace.

Jewish shepherds kept their sheep in two kinds of sheepfolds.
In the villages, the shepherds led their flocks into stone-walled communal enclosures guarded by gatekeepers (John 10:1–5). In the morning, the shepherd would arrive at the gate, be recognized by the gatekeeper, and be allowed to enter the sheepfold. As the shepherd walked and called among the mixed flocks, only his own sheep would respond to him. Hearing and recognizing the shepherd’s voice, his sheep would follow him out of the sheepfold to the pasture. Out in the wilderness, sheepfolds were often makeshift low-walled enclosures made of stones. The shepherd slept across a narrow opening in front to protect them and keep them from wandering (vv. 7–9). Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (v. 7).