In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). We are now going to cover the ‘I AM’s’ of Jesus. Jesus came to reveal the Father and show the way to salvation. Over 20 times in the Gospels He uses the declaration ‘I am’ in explaining who He was. In so doing He was affirming His divinity and His relationship to mankind. The next of these is ‘I am the Door’.
We have the privilege of walking through
I have always been drawn to ornate doors. On my travels, I have taken photographs of doors in Spain, Prague, Portugal and Israel, especially when they have been beautifully crafted or artistically painted. I love the blue hues of painted doors that are seen across Europe. When faced with a door what do we see? Our natural curiosity will always want to see what is beyond it. We may try the handle, we may peek through the keyhole, but usually, these doors are locked. No matter how ornate or beautifully painted. If the door is inaccessible we will never see what’s through it. Jesus says that He is the door and we have the privilege of walking through to the other side.
Jesus said, ‘I am the Door, anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely] and will find pasture.’ John 10:9
Keep on asking and it will be given you, keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened Matthew 7:8. If we persist in our pursuit of Jesus, that door will be opened, we shall receive and we shall find all that we have need of in Him.
Strive to enter by the narrow door
Prior to the statement in John 10, Jesus had healed a man who had been blind from birth. The religious leaders questioned him as to how this miracle had taken place. They were now riled.
He starts with I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold but climbs up some other way is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to His voice and heed it. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know His voice… Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door for the sheep.
Strive to enter by the narrow door [force yourselves through it], for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able, Luke 13:24. The word ‘strive’ here means to ‘make every effort’, from agon; to ‘literally’ struggle. This demonstrates that to enter into all God has for us we need to struggle or force our way in. Jesus says we will go in and out of this ‘door’ which represents the way to green pastures. I personally see this at work in myself. I struggle and then come through the door and struggle again and come through the door. Almost like a revolving door!
Work out your own salvation
In the letter to the Phillipians, Paul is writting to show his appreciation but also to encourage their growth. Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Phil 2:12
And so it is here explained. Striving to enter through the door with much awe and trembling but knowing ultimately that it is God who works in us to will and to do according to His satisfaction.
Christ is the door
Henry says – Whatever difficulties there may be in the sayings of the Lord Jesus, we shall find Him ready to explain Himself, if we be willing to understand Him. We shall find one scripture expounding another, and the blessed Spirit interpreter to the blessed Jesus.
Christ is the door. This He said to those who pretended to seek for righteousness, but, did not strive to find the door. He said it to the Jews, who thought they were God’s only sheep, and to the Pharisees, who thought they were the only shepherds.
Christ is as a door shut, to keep out thieves and robbers, such as are not fit to be admitted. The shutting of the door is the securing of the house. What greater security has the church of God than that of the Lord Jesus, and His wisdom, power, and goodness, between them and all their enemies? He is as a door open for passage and communication. As the door, we have our first admission into the flock of God, John 14:6 and then we go in and out assisted by Him, accepted in Him, walking up and down in his name, (Zech. 10:12 And I will strengthen [Israel] in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down and glory in His name, says the Lord).
The sheep are admitted
By Him God comes to His church, visits it, and communicates Himself to it. And lastly by Him, as the door, the sheep are at last admitted into the heavenly kingdom, (Matt. 25:34 then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you favoured of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world).
Christ is the door of the shepherds, so anyone who does not come in by Him are not to be accounted pastors. Instead they are thieves and robbers (though they pretended to be shepherds). This refers to all those that have the character of shepherds, but exercise their office without any regard to the Messiah. These robbers assume a superiority above Him, as the antichrist is said to exalt himself (2 Thess. 2:4 Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God).
Enter in and be saved
Rivals with Christ are robbers of His church, however they pretend to be shepherds. But the sheep do not hear them. Those that have a true taste of devotion, that are spiritual and heavenly, and sincerely devoted to God and godliness, can by no means approve of the traditions of the elders, nor relish their formalities. Christ’s disciples made no conscience of eating with unwashen hands, or plucking the ears of corn on the sabbath day. For nothing is more opposite to true Christianity than legalism is, nor anything more disrelishing to a soul truly devout than hypocritical devotions.
Christ is the door of the sheep (John 10:9): By Me (di emou—through Me as the door) if any man enter into the sheepfold, as one of the flock, he shall be saved. Shall not only be safe from thieves and robbers, but he shall be happy, he shall go in and out.
Here we have plain directions of how to come into the fold: we must come in by Jesus Christ as the door. By faith in Him, as the great Mediator between God and man, we come into covenant and communion with God. There is no entering into God’s church but by coming into Christ’s church. Nor are any looked upon as members of the kingdom of God among men but those that are willing to submit to the grace and government of the Redeemer.
The field by morning, the fold by night
We must now enter by the door of faith (Acts 14:27 He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom we obtain salvation in the kingdom of God]). He offers precious promises to those who observe this direction that they shall be saved. This is the privilege of their home. In the meantime they shall go in and out and find pasture. This is the privilege of their way. They shall journey by the grace of Christ, shall be in His fold as a man at his own house, where he has free ingress, egress, and regress. True believers are at home in Christ. When they go out, they are not shut out as strangers, but have liberty to come in again. When they come in, they are not shut in as trespassers, but have liberty to go out. They go out to the field in the morning, they come into the fold at night. In both the Shepherd leads and keeps them, and they find pasture in both: grass in the field, fodder in the fold.
In public, in private, they have the word of God to converse with, by which their spiritual life is supported and nourished, and out of which their gracious desires are satisfied.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Eight days later His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though they were behind closed doors, and stood among them and said, Peace to you! John 20:26
The Narrow Door I walk towards the narrow door With clear unblinkered eyes, Just above I see a sign ‘Please enter’ – no compromise. Outside so many people Controlled by the world and its sin, They hesitate, then the door is closed Now no one can enter in. Beyond the door the path is straight No deviating bend, Secure and clear the way ahead Until I reach the end. Twenty minutes, forty years How long will it be? I know you’ve prepared the table Is there a place for me? By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your Word that sets us free. Jesus I enter by You, the best door that ever was. Help me strive to enter in yet by Your grace knowing You are the Potter and I am the clay. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
I am the door!