“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be kept safe.” (John 10:9) This text can be translated “will be saved” or “will be kept safe”; most bibles use the first translation. Usually these words are interpreted to mean that Jesus is the only way to be saved. But if you look at the context, Jesus is not talking about saving sheep from sin or guilt. He is talking about saving sheep from life-killers, from thieves and robbers.
Behind these words is Ezekiel 34, where bad shepherds are described and condemned. Jesus uses this prophecy to encourage His followers, who are like lambs among wolves (Luke 10:3). ‘When you stick close to me, I will protect you, I will be your defender, your gate!’ The closer we are to Jesus, so that we know His voice, the safer we will be from the life-killers. By knowing His voice, His way, we will be able to distinguish between good shepherds and bad. “After I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 20:29)
How do Jesus followers stay safe in this world, how do we discern truth from error, good from bad? By maintaining a close relationship with Jesus, by knowing what He is like and what He sounds like! Then when deceivers come to draw us away, we will be able to tell the difference. Jesus is our refuge, our defender, our gate… stick close to Him!