Mankind has always made efforts to reach God with their own efforts, for their inner core of being hungers for God. Someone erects the Tower of Babel and others bank on the prayers and efforts of some apparently devout to lead into God’s Divine presence. But this entry can only be made available by One who came from God, has a close relationship with Him and also has the right to go back to Him. Lord Jesus being Son of God is Himself God, has been eternally together with Him and not only knows the way but Himself is the way. He only can be and is the door to heaven for after all we aspire to go into His house only and who else can!
How Lord Jesus can be a Door? – A person steeped in sin will invariably lose much of his energy for anything good and the Son of God as Bread of life’ revives him/her and then as ‘Light of the world’ provides him enlightenment by opening their spiritual eyes. Once one is able to see properly it is but natural that the Redeemer must provide an escape route from that situation. Lord Jesus then reveals the next blessing in Himself to escape from that old life. The getaway route is He Himself for He is the Door, the point of entry to the heavenly throne of grace and mercy (John 10:9).
After Phillip was called by Lord Jesus to follow Him, he called Nathanael to join them (John 1:48 -51). But Nathanael was apprehensive about anything good coming out of Nazareth. Lord Jesus revealed to him His knowledge about his prayers, for being under the fig tree is to be in prayer as per Jewish custom. Revealing His access to the House of God in heaven, the Lord revealed His being the ‘ladder’ that Jacob had dreamt about in his dream in Bethel while fleeing from Esau (Genesis 28:12). The angels ascending and descending upon Him indicated His being the way to the Father in heaven and to be and receive answers to their prayers.
In the Old Testament the Jews were provided a temporary relief from sin by offering the blood of a lamb without blemish on the Altar, for life is in the blood. With this they were given the right to worship God and the Priest could then offer incense on their behalf to God. Permanent solution to this sinless state could only be through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Once sins are forgiven and erased from the record of an individual, there remains no reason to deny him/her entry into the presence of God. This blessed state allows us the right to enter into the presence of God at any time. Then we are also blessed to place our requests in the Name and authority of the Lamb of God, His Son, and expect an answer to the same. The door provides the way in, to enter at any time of our choosing, for we become joint heirs with the Son of GOD, to come out at any time to perform our assigned tasks of our life here.
Greek word ‘thura’ is translated as ‘door, a portal or entrance’ but it also means ‘an opportunity’. A portal is more than a door, for a door may provide entry into another room but a portal leads us to something entirely different. The Savior Lord is that Door and that opportunity made available by the love of God the Father, to enter into His presence, an altogether different place from our worldly state into eternal blessedness, beyond our earthly existence. This Door leads us from our wilderness into the protection of the sheepfold whereas the wild beasts may be roaring all around, but outside. Everyone as sheep in this world is always vulnerable to the evil designs of the devil, who may snatch the soul away. Entering through the Door is not a long drawn affair; it is just crossing the threshold into His Divine safety. The words, ‘whoever enters’ means a no exception invitation for all and nobody receives any priority because of his/her past nor is rejected due to that.
Also, the door must be in a wall, and this wall is a sin that we inherit from Adam and then add on to it brick by brick daily through our sins of omission and commission. ‘If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and does not do it, it is sin for them’ (James 4:17) and this wall cannot be broken by any of our efforts, nor is it possible to go around this wall. The Door is the only entryway available to mankind to cross over. It is believed by many that the separating wall can be breached by our good works but that is a lie of the devil to lead men away from salvation and remain under his control. They believe that righteousness is achieved at every stage of the journey of life and finally at the end God with His grace will award salvation to all.
The Scripture is clear that we are separated from God because of our sins and He hides His face from us due to this and our prayers do not reach Him, nor will He hear (Isaiah 59:2). We cannot breach the separating wall in any other way except enter through the Door. But entering through the door is not a long process but just one step of faith in Lord Jesus, as Savior and one is in. Since the separation from God is due to sin, the step that we take washes us by His blood, shed for us and we are cleansed of all sin. Believers in white robes, before God’s throne have ‘washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:14). This washing is the condition as well as the result of the entry through the Door for ‘God made Him, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Lord Jesus being the Door leads us into God’s presence for (John 10:30) He as His Son is forever in His presence and in one with the Father.
The promise is for whoever enters by this Door, ‘will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture’ (John 10:9 & 16). While salvation is assured on entry, the believer receives guidance and strength to go back into the darkness infested world to go to the ‘other sheep’ which presently are not yet saved, to get them in through the same Door. The entry back into the Garden was barred by the Cherubim with the ‘flaming sword’ (Genesis 3:24). The same design of cherubim was woven into all the curtains, symbolizing that separation and no return. On the cross Lord Jesus declared fulfillment of all that was prophesied about Him in the past by saying, ‘It is finished’. The curtain dividing the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place was then torn in two from top to bottom, providing a way of entry through the two cherubim. Anyone in sin does not have an entry visa and cannot enter in except through and with the Son of God.
Who do people refuse entry through this Door? The call is not for a selected group of people or community who are called or chosen by God. Lord Jesus’ call is for ‘all who labor and are heavy laden’ to receive rest (Matthew 11:28). The opposition to entry is from various quarters.
The accuser, the devil, who does not desire that anyone should go into God’s presence, is first. But how does he stop people from entering? First, all those who are told about the Door, do not know nor understand; for their minds ‘the god of this age has blinded’ and they neither see the signs nor hear the word (2 Corinthians 4:4). That is the reason that the Pharisees, Scribes and Jewish leaders rejected Lord Jesus and salvation through Him and still do. Second, the devil mixes the message of salvation with lies to lead believers into apostasy and unbelief. Third, the devil misleads believers through misinterpretation of the word, ‘faith without works is dead’ to mean that salvation is through good deeds (James 2:20). We perform good deeds not to earn salvation but to rejoice and celebrate that with the welfare of others. Four, by creating doubts and fear in the mind of an individual undergoing trials, that are caused by the devil himself. We must not forget the advice given by Apostle Paul to all believers on this that God who sacrificed His own Son for our salvation, ‘how shall He not with Him (His Son) also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32). Adam and Eve were barred from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden as also from all the abundance therein (Genesis 3:23-24). Lord Jesus provides all believers entry into the ‘abundant life in Him’ restoring the same status of the Garden of Eden (John 10:10).
Next we have the people within the Body of Christ who lay conditions for entry into the ‘select’ group of believers. Some of the Pharisees who believed, raised a condition that it is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles before baptism and asked them to follow the law of Moses (Acts 15:5). The issue was finally resolved by the Jerusalem Council but even today in many places restrictions still exist through misinterpretation of the Scripture.
Third, the traditional teaching from birth to people about good works to earn their way into heaven is still a major mind block that many find difficult to overcome. Going against traditional views is then misused by others to stop entry through the portal into God’s presence.
Religious businessmen who consider themselves to be the sole authority to decide the fate of others in the region or community, force their viewpoint on the weak to keep them in bondage to darkness. As a messenger of the Good News of salvation through Lord Jesus, we must realize that the Holy Spirit gets into action with the Word of God. We are required to lead others to the Door of salvation and no one can take the final step of entry without the will of God. Our duty is to fight the forces of darkness with the Light of God’s Word and leave the result to Him.
Why is this called a narrow way? God does not want man to be alone for we were created to live as a community (Genesis 2:18). God has endowed every human being with free will and He never enforces His will on others. Satan on the other hand likes to lure people into sin through lies, like offering a sale discount of a shop. The crowds get attracted by the lies and the way to the Door of truth looks unattractive and narrow. The reality dawns only after one enters inside and receives blessings with a changed life. Lord Jesus summed up the commandments and the second one is to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mark 12:31). This love is not limited in any way but is about their life beyond this world also, by showing them the truth of the Gospel.
The Jews while traveling to Jerusalem and back for celebrating the three mandated festivals, moved in groups of relatives and acquaintances for safety and for encouraging each other during the journey. The Jewish command to have a minyan of ten males (a young boy above 13 years of age after bar-mitzvah can join) for organizing a prayer house or Synagogue is to pray together to learn from each other and to encourage each other through close bonding. Lord Jesus has clarified three points of the way that leads to Him, it leads to life; it is a difficult way and few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). We do not find the Door and the way to Him by our own efforts but through the mercy and grace of God who puts a desire in us to look in the right direction.
Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a scholar of the Torah, taught by Rabbi Gamalial, the great teacher of his time, but the Apostle counted ‘all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus’ discarding them as rubbish (Philippians 3:7-8). One must get rid of our own ideas and reasoning, and surrender to the urging of the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus has identified who can walk on this way and enter through the Door, ‘he who does the will of My Father in heaven’ (Matthew 6:21). Anyone who is self-seeking, is filled with greed, resentment, pride or is controlled by the ‘lusts of the flesh’ will neither see nor walk on this narrow way.
When we take this path we will receive revelation of Lord Jesus and start being transformed into His likeness (1 John 3:2). Since Lord Jesus is life, a believer who enters into His sheepfold, ‘he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him’ (James 1:12). The Son of God ‘was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God’, a place of honor, glory and power over everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth (Mark 16:19). Our entry into the Door ensures that He has ‘raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:5-6). The changes in our life are not promised in some distant future but here on earth during our lifetime.
All promises of the Son of God are true for He is the Truth and the confirmatory seal of fulfillment is the indwelling Holy Spirit in us. This Door provides us with a sure separation from the darkness of the world and also provides protection from their lies. God as a loving Father is keen to get all of mankind back to Him and puts a desire in their heart to get into a close relationship with Him. Entry through this Door cannot be postponed for another day, who knows when the Day of Judgment may come and the opportunity may cease.