Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7
We are continuing our look at the seven emphatic I AM statements, Jesus makes in the Gospel of John. So far we’ve discussed the Bread of Life and the Light of the World. This week Jesus says He is the Door of the Sheep. Each statement employs a metaphor to describe His salvation work. But in each of the conversations or discourses, He also exposes us.
Chapter 10 of John is actually a continuation of a long back-and-forth with the Pharisees that began in chapter 9 with the healing of the man born blind. This is late in Jesus’s ministry. His confrontations with the entrenched religious leaders are more intense. He has endured more at least one attempt on His life.
This statement and His next that follows closely — I am the Good Shepherd — are the last public declarations of His identity and mission. The last three come in private conversations with Martha and with His disciples.
The religious leaders had set themselves up as the moral scorekeepers, the arbiters of who entered heaven –mostly them — and who did not — pretty much everyone else. Jesus explodes that notion.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9
I am the door. A door is an access point, the only legitimate access point, and this door is Christ. It is not membership in a group. It is not heritage or politics. It is not form or ritual. It is not a resume or a pedigree. It is Christ. We cannot adhere to or espouse our own “brand” of Christ. It’s Jesus’s plan, His blood, His work and so they are His terms.
Here are His terms.
If you seek salvation through Him that means:
1. You will be saved.
2. You will be free.
3. You will find abundance.
Saved from what? The consequences and just punishment of our sins, not just the torment of the guilt but the unfathomable hopelessness of being separated from God. Saved to what? We’re not just yanked from hell at the last minute and sent along our merry way. No, He saves us with a purpose in mind. We’re saved to join Him in His kingdom work.
Free from what? This is the one that really frosted the Pharisees. Free from the requirements of the Law. Free from a standard we cannot meet. Free to have a relationship with Him that is based on His grace and not our performance. Free from being controlled by insecurity and failure. Free to rest in the One who secures us.
What abundance? If it’s about stuff, then the system is messed up, because only modern-day Western Christians are experiencing much abundance. Really, how insulting is it to suggest that Jesus suffered so we could have stuff? No, it’s every spiritual blessing. Try to get through Ephesians 1:3-12 without being overwhelmed by what you have been given in Christ.
So how does Jesus call us out as He’s setting the Pharisees straight?
The Pharisees missed the whole point of the Law. It wasn’t given to separate people into a religious “us” and “them.” The wisdom in it was supposed to ultimately point people to God who gave it. (Deuteronomy 4:6-8) The sacrifices required by the Law underscored our need for forgiveness and looked forward to a day when our sins wouldn’t just be covered by the blood of a sacrifice but erased by the blood of Christ. (Hebrews 9:11-15)
We have the message of salvation, an even better testament to God’s goodness and grace. Christ didn’t come to make our lives more comfortable, or so that we could rack up numbers, or so that we could increase our influence. In Ephesians 3:10, Paul explained that we, as the body of believers are to display the wisdom of God’s salvation plan.
Be honest. Does the church, we as individuals, we as local bodies and we as the whole body, does the church display the wisdom of God in saving us? Or do we display something else?
Jesus is the Door. Let’s make sure we are doing all we can to make sure everyone FINDS the door and goes through it.