Here we are in week 4 of looking at the Boldest Statements Jesus ever made—those places and moments where He categorically identified Himself as Yahweh—The Great I Am.
When I am working on a message, I usually look at several different translations, and usually find one that fits the bill for what God is leading me to share. Our text is John 10:1-10. My favorite is to read from the NLT. As I was looking at the different translations, I found that the NLT and more recent translations uses the word “gate” and the KJV and the New King James Version uses the word “door”. There’s something about the image of a door that pushes me deeper into today’s passage. Let’s look at it together and I will be reading it from the NKJV:
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the Doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when He brings out his Own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am The Door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.9I Am The Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
There are all kinds of doors. There are hollow core doors, solid core doors, wood doors, metal doors, folding doors, pocket doors, sliding doors garage doors, cellar doors, screen doors, storm doors, front doors and back doors. Doors can be inviting entrances to relationship and fellowship. Doors that are inviting lead us into joys and experiences we otherwise will not have. These doors can open up a whole new world for us. These are the kind of doors we want to see. But there’s another side to the image of doors.
Doors can also be intimidating. They can deliver the message to keep out and stay away. They become barriers that keep us out and away from potential hope, and even a future. Some doors may even seem scary because we are unsure about what lies behind them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that doors can be entrances to a much deeper and better life, or they can keep us locked out—locked out from the life that God truly wants every person to live and experience. Such is the case in today’s passage. Just before this Jesus had healed a blind man on the Sabbath.
How dare Jesus do something actually good on the Sabbath Day. Who in the world would ever do something good on a day like the Sabbath? It’s supposed to be a solemn day, a quiet day. There’s a time and a place for everything, and a way to get things done because that’s the way they’ve always been done. Then this Jesus comes along and does something that has never been done that way before.
Well, all this makes for is chaos and confusion. We can’t have someone claiming to be the Messiah making mud packs for the blind and then telling them to wash it off so they can see. Things like this are not supposed to happen that way. He could have healed him on one of the other six days. If that man couldn’t get healed then, well, he just didn’t need healing to begin with. And the Pharisees go on the attack against Jesus, again. They question—His Ways, His Methods, His Teachings, And His Authority. Jesus isn’t playing nice with the Pharisees and they don’t like it one little bit. Sabbath days were designed by God to remind us of that all-important connection with God.
Among the Jews there was one day every week that was Sabbath—a way to remind them of their need for God. Then they had Seven Feasts that were also called Sabbath days—to remember God’s faithful presence and His everlasting promises. God designed the Sabbath to be a time for the people to remember their connection to Him. Sabbath was to be the open door into the presence of God.
But what was designed as a door to enter God’s presence became a barrier. The Pharisees had devised 39 different categories of activities that were prohibited on any Sabbath. Any activity which changed the appearance or nature of anything or anyone was prohibited. If it required 2 or more items to make—prohibited!
And just look at what Jesus had done. He had made a mud pack—prohibited! Told the man to wash it off—prohibited! Then Jesus changed the nature of that man by giving him his sight—that really was prohibited. All these rules and regulations were standing between God and the people He loved. So Jesus didn’t care about their rules and regulations. This Man Needed To Know That God Knew Him, Cared About Him, And Loved Him Enough To Change His Nature—even on a Sabbath.
So Jesus boldly proclaims: Yahweh! I Am The Door! Their laws were a door that became the barrier to God’s presence. Jesus wanted to open that Door into God’s presence. And He did, and He still does today—He’s not the barrier to God, but the entrance into God’s presence. Let’s look at a few ways that Jesus is the Door To God:
1. He’s The Door To Forgiveness
People get some crazy ideas about forgiveness. Some think that before they dare ask God for forgiveness, they need to clean their act up more. It’s like they feel that their life is such a mess right now, that there is no way God could forgive them. So they work on trying to be better and do better. I mean, no one wants to go out to eat at a fancy restaurant wearing dirty work clothes. You want to look your best. We think that God is like that 5 star restaurant where He won’t let us in unless we have on a coat and tie.
Some people think that they are simply too sick for God to accept them. So they need to find another way to get feeling better. Let me ask you a question. When do you go see a doctor? When you’re sick or do you wait until you feel better? If you wait until you’re feeling better you won’t go.
And that’s what happens when we try to fix ourselves. If we actually do manage to look better on the outside by being nicer to others and developing some good habits, then we start feeling like, “Well, I’m not so bad now. I don’t need for God to forgive me anymore.” That kind of thinking is wrong on so many levels.
God’s Doesn’t Turn Anyone Away Because They Are Dirty Or Sick. If anything, He welcomes them because He’s been waiting for them. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross for nice people. He died for sick and broken people like me! You bring it all, all the junk and the sin and the dirt and the filth, and lay it all out before Him. And do you know what? God will not turn away from that disgusting sight. Do you want to know why He won’t turn away from your pile of sins? Because He has already seen it—seen it when they were put on Jesus as He hung on that Cross. God won’t turn away from YOU, because He turned away from Jesus as He paid that awful price for us.
When life gets unsettled, well more than unsettled—It’s Hard To Relax When We Can’t See Our Way Through. When the pressures and demands of everyday life tries to stress us out; when we see our plans unraveling at the seams; or when we can’t even get our plans together and we are more than ready to panic—but we are in full panic mode, we need that deep abiding peace.
We need more than for someone to say to us, “Oh, it will eventually be OK. You can’t control everything, so just relax.” It’s hard to feel like everything is hunky dory when things just aren’t working out like we planned.
There have been times when my life has felt like I’ve been in the spin cycle of a washing machine that’s been turbo-charged and running on jet fuel. Doing the ordinary things, then extra stuff needed my attention. I remember February 2012. I had been pulled into the Disaster Recovery efforts after the 2011 tornadoes had ravaged our district. I wanted to honor God with this work. I had received a call from a group in Arkansas that wanted to frame and “get in the dry” 2 homes for 2 families of my choice. All I had to do was to get the foundations ready–they would do the rest. Oh, and they were to arrive in the middle of March. It seemed that after I got started on that project, everything was going wrong. Things were not falling into place on either home. Then my Mother was admitted to the hospital. I was stressed out, and I got mad at God and told Him, “Look, I’m trying to do this to honor You. Why is everything going wrong?”
Me and God had a serious talk, actually, several of them. But I finally heard God say to me, “I am still in control. And Randy, I am going to honor the desire of your heart for me.” Not everything is fixed instantly. And when I want to panic, I remember, I remember God’s promise to me. God keeps His promises.
He doesn’t always work things out in our time schedule, but He does work things out. Jesus Is The Doorway To Peace Because He Stays With Us Through Thick And Thin. In good times and bad times—He will never abandon us. I confess I haven’t always remembered this, but when I do remember it, the peace always comes back to me. Do I ever get a bit stressed even now? Oh yes, but I’m not worried any more. God is going to take care of me and because of His love expressed in Jesus, and He is going to take care of you. That’s our peace. Peace is not the absence of any conflict or problems—but it is the unending presence of Jesus.
Jesus gives us two kinds of liberty. First, He Gives Us Liberty From The Power Of Temptation And Sin. Jesus took on the worst that Satan could throw at Him every time and every time Jesus was the Victor.
This same Jesus wants to live in us with every bit as much power as He did when He walked this earth in our flesh. If we fight temptation on our own, then we lose. But the Jesus who faced Satan in the wilderness, the Jesus who faced Satan through His enemies, and even at times through His closest friends lives in us.
The Jesus who faced Satan in Gethsemane, the Jesus who faced Satan on the Cross, the Jesus who faced Satan in the tomb—and who won every one of those battles, resides in the heart of every believer who trusts Jesus and only Jesus.
Then His Liberty Also Gives Us The Strength, Courage And Wisdom To Live A Life That Brings Him Honor And Us Immeasurable Joy. He sets us free to live out our relationship in ways that makes changes in the world, makes changes in people’s lives. He gives us the liberty to become who we are created to be. We don’t have to be bound by people’s labels or our own fear of failure. We can dare to do great things for God because Jesus—who gave sight to that blind man—will take up residency in our hearts with every bit as much power as it took to open that man’s eyes!
Life Is What God Wants Us To Experience. All the laws, rules and traditions of the Pharisees took the life right out of the people. Jesus is The Door—the ONLY Door that takes us from the deadness and emptiness that comes from living with the wrong purpose.
He is The Door to the life you have been created for. This life is more than you can see, think or imagine. It’s the life where God gets all, I mean ALL the glory. It’s The Life Where He Shines In Us And Through Us.
Are you loaded down with guilt? Is chaos and fear running a marathon in your mind and heart? Do you feel imprisoned by demands and unrealistic expectations? Does your heart ache for a real life?
And Here’s the one thing you need to remember: Life Is Lived In And Through Jesus, Or It’s Not Lived At All! Because of God’s great love for you, The Door has been opened. Come to Jesus.
- Is There Some Guilt You Have Been Carrying, That’s Been Weighing You Down?Your next Step is to step towards Jesus. We are not made to carry guilt. The Door is always open for those who need forgiveness.
- Are You Overwhelmed? Your next step is to give all your fears, worries and anxieties over to Him. He is The Door to inner peace.
- Does Your Ordinary Days Feel Like A Prison Sentence? Your next step is to reclaim the Joy of Living. He’s The Door to Liberty—that fills your life with Great Joy. God wants you to live with an uninhibited, open Joy in your life.
- Does Your Life Feel At Best Ordinary Or At Worst A Drag? Your next step is to begin living our His purpose for your life. One of two of the things that keeps people from their purpose is fear—fear of the unknown—or fear of failure. God walks with you in your God-Given Purpose and opens The Door that gives you the freedom to truly live—to live life the way He designed it.