Jesus says, I am the Door

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture."

Taken as it stands, isn't this is an odd statement to make? Have you ever heard someone calling themselves a door or gate? However, when this is understood to be metaphor, then it makes a bit more sense. But to fully appreciate and understand what led Jesus to say it, we must understand what had happened in the events leading up to this point.

The previous chapter in John, Jesus had healed a man born blind. The Pharisees couldn't accept this healing as real, they thought it was a fake. Then what made matters worse was that the formerly blind man attributed his healing to Jesus. Furthermore, he said to them if Jesus was not from God, how could he open the eyes of a man blind from birth? It's unheard of! This infuriated the Pharisees. They stubbornly refused to accept that Jesus was sent from God, or attribute his miracles to God. It's all fake. It's the same today, there is nothing new in this.

Now, in chapter 10, Jesus directly seeks out and confronts the Pharisees in their unbelief. The whole point of Jesus' statement "I am the door" was because the Pharisees were rejecting him. He reveals to them that there is only one true method of access to God, and I am it! This statement is direct and confrontational! It is totally exclusive! Jesus is saying to them there is no access to God apart from coming to him, I am the door. You have to pass by or through me.

This amazing statement has consequences for us as well. It leads to a fundamental question, how are you seeking God? How do you expect to be saved and go to heaven?

Imagine a nightclub, and there you discover there are bouncers on the door. What are they there for? Isn't it to check that only the right type of person can gain access? So they check everyone out. There is no other way in, you can't get past them unless you get past them first. Well, this is a poor illustration, but it does explain what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees. You Pharisees may think you can get to God by your own achievements and merits, the way you live, the things you do. You think you have privileges that gain you entry, like a free pass because of your ancestry or status in society. Your good works, your zeal for obeying the law. Well, you are wrong. God has appointed me as the only means by which you can gain entry to God's kingdom.

Man cannot save himself. And Jesus today tells us exactly the same thing. There is no other way to be saved, no other way by which we may gain access to the Father's kingdom unless you come to me, and by me. I am the door.

In fact, the illustration Jesus uses at the beginning of John chapter 10 to the Pharisees is not a nightclub, but a scene that they would have seen, experienced and understood in their day. Jesus borrows and draws on the picture of a shepherd and his sheep. In those days sheep were valuable. They were used not just for wool and meat, but for sacrifice. A shepherd had to look after the flock, and protect them from “thieves and robbers.” (John 10:1) Out in the country at night when it was dark, the sheep were herded into sheep pens, and there would only be one entrance and exit. The sheepfold was often made of wood, or stone, whatever lay to hand. There would only be one gap, one entrance and exit. Just large enough for a sheep to get in and out, and for the shepherd himself to fill, or lie to protect the sheep.

The sheepfold was a place of safety, that's the key point. There were also sheepfolds present in the towns, and there would be a professional gatekeeper who would look after the sheep on behalf of the shepherd. The gatekeeper would only let the shepherd into the sheepfold. (John 10:3)

Jesus goes on to explain the sheep will only hear, listen, and follow after the shepherd. The shepherd, in turn, knows his sheep by name. He knows each one. But they would never listen and follow a stranger. The Pharisees listening to Jesus didn't understand, they didn't grasp that Jesus was talking about them, and referring to the people of Israel in figurative language. They didn't grasp that here before them was the true shepherd, it all went over the Pharisees heads! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)

They, the Pharisees were the thieves and robbers, they were the strangers the people would not listen to! But they welcome and hear the voice of the shepherd, just like the man who was healed of his blindness! In fact, he could see who Jesus was, but it was the Pharisees who remained blind! So on seeing that the Pharisees didn't get it, Jesus points it out to them in clear language. “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” Jesus couldn't now be more open and direct. The people come to me because they know me, they know who I really am, and what I offer!

It is exactly the same for us today. If we feel the need to seek after God. If we feel our need of him, then the only way by which we can approach a holy God is through Jesus Christ. He dies upon the cross to save sinners so that if you come to him and believe, confessing your sins, you will be saved. There is no other saviour. No other door by which we can draw near to God. Only his sheep, true believers, will listen to his voice, and follow after him, and he calls them and knows each one by name.

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