The role of the Redeemer Son of God is linked to two essential things – to destroy the works of the devil and to give life of abundance to us. And He revealed His identity as ‘the Door’ also along with the six other ‘I AM’ statements as recorded in Apostle John’s Gospel. These statements are about His being God incarnate as Man to reveal the fullness of the Godhead. A door when open represents an opportunity to move in and out but when closed, becomes a hindrance as of a prison. Lord Jesus is the Door but we must understand and perceive Him to be what He wants to be for us.
The meaning of being a Door – A door is basically a symbol of a passage from one part to another in a building or an entry into something or an area from outside. Lord Jesus first referred to Himself as ‘the Door of the sheep’ and this is about being a specific type of door (John 10:9). He then compares Himself with other religious leaders who were before Him terming them as ‘thieves and robbers’. The Lord referred to all of mankind as sheep for sheep are simple animals that follow the one in front, look down and remain unaware of predatory animals, not burden bearers, cannot defend themselves, are valuable but demand little. Lord Jesus came to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth in the hearts of all those who believe Him and thus dethrone the devil.
As ‘the Door’ and the only Door, Lord Jesus leads us back into the place from where mankind was expelled due to their sin. All of mankind suffered death of the soul through separation from God and were moved out of the Garden of Eden, a place of abundance and presence of God to be under the rule of one who comes like a thief ‘to steal, and to kill, and to destroy’. In the Garden, Adam was to rule over everything in the physical realm, while also meeting and worshiping God in the spiritual realm. Lord Jesus as the Door provides access to a believer into the spiritual through the indwelling Holy Spirit while living on the earth. In addition, all believers are also granted access into the heavenly realm through faith in the Lord.
The identification as ‘the Door’ renders it to be a specific and a definite door, not a façade or a disguise. The Hebrew word ‘patach’ means, ‘door, an entrance way, portal’ and it leads to a place of power and authority, providing visibility to what was previously closed and thus imparts knowledge. Cain and Abel used their sacrificial offerings to get into the presence of God. In the Old Testament whenever one felt having strayed from God’s presence, a sacrificial offering was brought before God. The sacrifice of the ‘Lamb of God’ on the cross opened the passage into the presence of God and what was barred to us, ‘the Garden of God’. Lord Jesus is not only the Door but also the Shepherd who leads His sheep to the door. This leading was further clarified by the Lord, ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you’ (John 15:16). We are led to the Door and the Door provides admittance into a place where we regain a special status of the blessed people. We become fruitful, for the blessing of Adam and Eve is restored, to be fruitful, multiply and dominate (Genesis 1:28) and this fruit must endure and is not momentary. Since the relationship is restored with God, who through adoption into His family becomes our Father, we are granted the right to ask and receive all that we need in the name of the One who brought us in.
In the ancient times the sheep were led into a common pen where two or more flocks may be there with a central guard. This Door leads us into an exclusive place of abundance and security with nothing to fear, for the Shepherd is our ‘strength and shield’ also. The Door leads us into special protection and also blesses us with His personal presence in and with us as His Spirit to strengthen and fill us with His love to enable us to lead other sheep to Him (1 Peter 5:8;4). Not only that He also assures us of a ‘crown of glory’ that is unfading and permanent.
This statement of the Lord is also an indictment of the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders. One of the woes shows the attitude of these leaders for they had made their rules and traditions more important than God’s Word and thus made it impossible for anyone to be in a close relationship with God. Had they been true teachers and followers of God’s Word, they would have welcomed and led others to the Son of God. The Lord told them, ‘For you have taken away the key of knowledge, you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered’ (Luke 11:52). In ancient times the Rabbis carried a key around their neck, claiming to be the keepers of knowledge. The religious leaders are entrusted with great responsibility towards the people, ‘For the lips of a priest should keep the knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth’ (Malachi 2:7).
John the Baptist told his disciples the true keeper of knowledge and wisdom, for ‘He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth’ (John 3:31). The Son of God is the ‘true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world’ (John 1:9). Lord Jesus as both the Shepherd and the Door leads and ensures entry to His followers into the presence of the light of the glory of God. He could claim this status to be the only Door for He is always one in and with the Father in heaven and the greatest virtue of this ‘door’ is that it excludes no one from entering. All believers in His name, who have received Him can rightfully claim to be ‘children of God’ and become joint heirs with Him in His heavenly kingdom for that is where this Door leads into.
Importance of ‘The Door’ – The real meaning of the Son of God being our Lord is revealed in His prayer to God the Father that ‘He should give eternal life to as many as You (Heavenly Father) have given Him’ (John 17:2-3). He further revealed eternal life to be, to ‘know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent’. Despite the fact that ‘all things were made through Him, and without him nothing was made that was made’ (John 1:3), He still glorified God the Father to have given Him all believers so that He could give them eternal life, the knowledge of God. Thus mere going to the Door does not benefit but one must know Him to get eternal life and all other blessings.
Lord Jesus preached the Word in the Synagogue in Nazareth and the people recognized Him as Mary’s Son, alluding to His not being Joseph’s son, and ‘the carpenter’ (Mark 6:1-5). Anyone’s identity during those times was in and with his father and not to mention that was considered derogatory. They ‘were offended at Him’ because they were surprised at the wisdom that he had, for he had not been trained by a Rabbi. Another reason was ‘that such mighty works are performed by His hands’, the One they despised.
The unnamed woman with the issue of blood flow for twelve years, who being considered ceremonially unclean would have been forced to live separated from her family and others, had suffered financial and physical loss causing mental and physical weakness, came to the Savior Lord (Mark 5:25-34). Her aim was not just to come, but touch His clothes and get healed without in any way making Him unclean. She was the only one called ‘Daughter’ by the Lord, though she must have been probably older than Him, for this was His expression of His ‘agape’ love, the love of God, towards her. The people of Nazareth saw the Door, recognized His goodness, power and authority to do good but failed to get in or receive any blessings.
Lord Jesus being a ‘Carpenter’ is much more than the one who works with wood but it is about being ‘a builder’ using both stone and wood. He came to build our lives from the ruins of sinful living and Nicodemus, the Jewish leader, reached the door to learn the benefit of entering in (John 3:3). Lord Jesus told him, ‘no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’. The Carpenter, Son of God, teaches us about the inherent potential in a log of wood or stone, that it takes hard work to make it usable and the best and lasting products are made from the hard things not soft. Nicodemus overcame his fear of the Jews expelling him from the Sanhedrin, their powerful council and joined Joseph of Arimathea to care for and bury the Lord after His crucifiction.
The Door remains unknown till we enter in and also give Him access, for this is a two way door. Apostle John learnt this through the letter to the Church of Laodicea, people who were lukewarm, materially rich but poor in spirit and being the center of cloth trade yet naked (Revelation 3:20). Lord Jesus revealed Himself to them as the One who stands ‘at the door and knock’ waiting to be welcomed into their hearts to bless them. Not entering the Door keeps us out but also keeps the Lord out of our lives thus leaving us poor and naked, exposed to the evil all around us. Moses prayed to God to show him His Divine glory (Exodus 34:6-7). The LORD God passed before Moses, while his eyes were covered and proclaimed His glory and Moses could see only God’s back, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth’. Lord Jesus as God and Redeemer leads us into the presence of God the Father to partake of all these blessings.
Our Lord promised His sheep a life different from others, first, the one who enters, ‘will be saved’ for in the world we face tribulation but since He has overcome the world, we can rejoice (John 10:9-10). Second, we are blessed to ‘go in and out and find pasture’ and this pasture is on both sides of the Door. Third, ‘they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’. King David declared about the role of this Good Shepherd, ‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters’ (Psalm 23:2). A place where there is no dearth of all that I need and where there is no danger or storm.
Someone may reach the Door, appreciate and rejoice in its beauty and great craftsmanship and be awed by that. But without going in with this belief that he will be allowed entry, be welcomed in love, receive great gifts and be able to come back, he would never receive anything. The call from the Messiah has a promise, ‘Come to Me (no other), all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). But He is a loving God who does not force anyone to follow Him, though the call is for everyone. A believer may also go out once and never come back while continuously trying to solve his problems through self effort only. There is an action involved in reaching this Door and that is to open and walk in and that is faith in action and God honors such. Also one has to actively reach out to others to bring them to this great Door.
What is the promised ‘life of abundance’? John the Baptist and Lord Jesus preached the same principle first, ‘repent’ and many preach, that a mere speaking and accepting Lord Jesus as God is enough. The command is to make disciples and it took more than a year for the disciples to be ready to be sent out independently despite their being taught by the great Teacher Himself (Matthew 28:20). Before His final ascension and glorification, Lord Jesus again confirmed the coming of the Holy Spirit on all but warned them to ‘tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). He opened for us the door to enter heaven on one side and for heaven to come into each one of us on the other.
To be in God’s image is to turn back and change direction from my present sinful life and it is more than a simple talk about forgiveness. Repentance leads to atonement, like Zacchaeus did by promising to pay back all who were cheated by him (Luke 19:8). Atonement then leads to transformation and that is what finally leads us into the Door and being cleansed from sin. Anyone can turn to the Lord and accept Him as Lord of his life but the Greek word ‘pistis’ translated as faith is more than a personal or group declaration. It is to trust Him and walk in obedience to His Word for unbelief is unreliability, untrustworthiness and disobedience. King David, the man of God’s heart, could say about the LORD God, ‘You, LORD keep my lamp burning, my God turns my darkness into light. With Your help I can advance against a troop, with my God I can scale a wall’ (Psalm 18:28-29). The battle is with the spiritual powers of darkness and evil and with God’s help we can face all challenges and come out victorious.
Life of abundance is not financial only but spiritual also. Lord Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount clarifies this, for God the Father knows all about all our needs and we must ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’ (Matthew 6:32-33). God wants to have a relationship not with me or you alone but with all the future generations also that are to come. He becomes the Door for us to walk into and continue with Him in a close relationship till eternity. Knowing and getting close to Him, in itself is the life of abundance for then He keeps darkness away and fills us with light. Today and now is the time to enter in for who knows what may happen in the next breath!
Satan accused Job of worshipping God with the selfish motive of receiving His blessings but Job did not turn from God even after losing everything. Following Lord Jesus and being transformed daily, bit by bit, into His image, we receive blessings but do we look at Him only as a miracle worker or as God who must be revered. All who came or were brought to Him were blessed but He desires a close relationship with us. How do we see Him decides our eternity!