… the Judeo-Christian scriptures expose, explore, and ultimately guide the way toward eliminating sacrifice.
S1:E26 EPISODE SUMMARY
For the fourth Sunday in Easter, Lindsey and Adam read one of the most bizarre and compelling passages of scripture, John 10: 1- 10, where Jesus uses a decidedly strange metaphor for himself. “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. … Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. … The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Okay, it makes sense to think of Jesus as a shepherd. But a sheep gate? What is going on?
A little context. The “sheep gate” was the gate through which the sheep entered the city of Jerusalem. When the sheep went from the pasture into the city, there was only one reason: sacrifice. A shepherd would lead sheep through the city gates… on their way to slaughter.
Some questions: What was the purpose of sacrifice in the first place? What would constitute a “good shepherd?” And why would Jesus compare himself to a sheep gate, a doorway of death, and say “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly?”
Adam and Lindsey explore why humanity has felt the need for sacrifice… and has confused that false need for the will of God. Sacrifice has been practiced all over the world and still exists in modern forms. Judaism didn’t invent sacrifice… rather, the Judeo-Christian scriptures expose, explore, and ultimately guide the way toward eliminating sacrifice.
Sheep were literal sacrificial animals… but they are also a metaphor for the most vulnerable among society. When life is viewed through a lens of scarcity, where prosperity for some seems to depend on poverty for others, where success comes at the expense of others… the weak and vulnerable are trampled.
When Jesus says, “I am the sheep gate,” he is saying he is the way for the vulnerable and marginalized. And indeed, he exposes the way of sacrifice as death. When Jesus walks the path of the vulnerable and condemned, he opens that path to new life by exposing human folly and answering it with divine mercy.
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