“I Am the Door”
HomeChurch Devotional 4/5/2020
These devotionals were written during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic when area churches were not allowedto meet for fear of spreading the coronavirus. They were used in place of a full sermon as my family and I gathered for worship and communion.
So Jesus again said tothem, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of thesheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. Iam the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and outand find pasture. The thief comes only to stealand kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
John 10:7-10 (ESV)
The shepherd and sheep area common and beloved image in Scripture, especially in the New Testament. Shepherds were considered to be among the undesirables of society because theywere “spiritually unclean” and there was not much opportunity for them to becleansed. Being a shepherd was a 24/7 proposition and required close contactwith the sheep herd. And yet God chose this group of undesirables to announcethe birth of His Son, Jesus Christ and they were the first to discover andworship the newborn King. In Scripture, we, the body of Christ, are often describedas the sheep of His flock. And there is little wonder we are associated withsheep, a hardheaded, stiff neck animal that simply seeks their own desires andselfish ambitions.
When Jesus claims to bethe gate of door of the sheep He is likely referring to the community sheep penwhere sheep were kept at night for safe keeping. This sheepfold had a singledoor/gate through which all the sheep and shepherds must enter or exit. When astrange and unfamiliar shepherd would enter the sheepfold most of the sheepwould scatter and run for cover, However, as the shepherd called his flock theywould emerge from the chaos and focus on him and follow him out the door/gateand enter the pasture and begin their journey to their home range. No othershepherd could claim sheep that were not his for they would flee from the soundof his voice and the only way to claim them was to steal or kill them.
However, there is another application to this statement that many do not know about or do not fullyunderstand. Psalm 23 is, perhaps, the most well known and beloved of allScripture passages. This Psalm actually walks us through a year in the life ofa sheep following his shepherd to the lush grazing lands atop the mountains,through the valleys and ravine, harsh weather and perfect sunny days and backhome again to the safety of their home range. On this journey, when the sheepwere to bed down for the night, the shepherd would find or have prepared aravine that formed a sheepfold from the natural lay of the land. This wasusually rocks and boulders from the land or streams that formed a protectivebarrier. In this sheepfold, once again, there would be a single door and theshepherd himself would lay across the opening and become the gate. This is theapplication for the body of Christ today, Christians.
As we celebrate theTriumphal Enter of Jesus into Jerusalem on this Palm Sunday this statement takes on a new and added importance in the life of believers. Jesus entered Jerusalem as the humble king riding on a donkey. The crowd following Him came from Bethany where He has called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead. The crowd had a sense of the kind of shepherd that Jesus came to be. But Jesus had a far deeper understanding of the shepherd and sheep. His journey had not yet reached the climax and as the people began to cry out “Hosanna” Jesus turned His face to the cross and the work that awaited Him.
When Jesus says “I am the Door,” not only is He referring to the sheepfold but there is a far deeper meaning for believers today. Jesus is the Door into God’s presence; the Temple veil will be torn from top to bottom allowing access to God’s presence. Jesus is the Door into God’s acceptance; by removing our sin through His shed blood Christ makes us able to stand before God justified and redeemed. Jesus is the Door to salvation; it is through Christ and His work on the cross that gives us eternal life. Jesus is the Door into heaven; no one can come to the Father but through Jesus and no one can enter into heaven or the Kingdom of God without believing that Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, if we wish to be with God, enjoy His kingdom and have eternal life and fellowship with the Father and Sonwe must enter through the Door, Jesus the Christ.
All others who claim to bethe door are thieves and robbers. There are some who claim to be the door and to have the way to God. They claim to know the right way and to have the newest ideas and the latest truth and knowledge. They claim to have the right teaching,religion, works, maturity, philosophy, psychology, ideas, and novel concepts.They claim to be the door that opens into God’s presence. But Jesus says that they are thieves and robbers. They are out to steal the sheep, both their wool,in the case of believers, their possessions as well as their lives or their loyalty. They want both their wool and their lives, for if they have both they have the sheep’s permanent loyalty.
The proof that Jesus is the only Door and that all others are false doors is the sheep themselves. Thesheep do not hear the voices of false doors, not if they are the real sheep of theShepherd. The real sheep of God know the Shepherd’s voice and have the abilityto discern it. If they hear the voice of a false shepherd, they know that he andhis sheepfold are false. His voice and message are not the voice and message ofthe true door, the Son of God Himself.
The thief, like falseleaders or teachers, has evil intentions. Jesus pictured a heartless individualwho began by taking all he could and then killing what he couldn’t have.Anything else he destroyed. God’s people, Israel, had suffered through morethan their share of evil leaders, false prophets, and false messiahs. Bycontrast, Jesus gives life in all its fullness to his sheep. This speaks of thegift of divine, eternal life, a life which becomes the possession of everybeliever for now and for eternity. Jesus would provide his sheep with thiseternal life, and it would cost him his own life.
And so it did! Like thesheep within the sheepfold in the hill country, the shepherd literally becamethe door to the sheepfold. As he stretched out across the opening to become theDoor, no sheep could leave the fold without going over the shepherd and noenemy could enter without going THROUGH the shepherd! In Luke22:31-32 (NASB) Jesus warns Peter of what is to come “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permissionto sift you like wheat; but I have prayedfor you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again,strengthen your brothers.” Satan stillhas access to believers today but he must first seek permission and as we learnin Job, he can only go so far before Jesus steps in! Our Shepherd, Jesus Christstands as our door through which our enemy MUST enter if he wishes to “sift uslike wheat.”