Studi biblici/Giovanni 10:9/John 10:9
Doors and the Door
|One of the most famous metaphors with which Jesus describes His person and Work is that of the door:"I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture" (John 10:9). In the context of a pastoral-agricultural society in that time, this image is one of the many ways in which He describes His uniqueness. He is the only door through which you access God and for which you can receive His blessings. This is a concept "not politically correct" today and at odds with the current mentality. It does not matter, though to those who take seriously what God's Word says, acceptable or not in our world. How does this statement of Jesus comfort the Christian? That's what I look at in my preaching this Sunday May 11 2014.|
- "I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture" (John 10:9).
Among the many metaphors used by the Lord Jesus Christ to describe the significance of His Person and Work, we find that ‘the door’, or better still, ‘the entrance of the sheepfold’. This sheepfold seems to be a courtyard in front of a house. The Greek word used for the sheepfold here, frequently refers to a courtyard, surrounded by a stone wall, often topped with briars, for protection. The idea is mainly that of protection for the sheep. This door is the passage through which the sheep are led by the shepherd to pastures. It is, then, a measure of safety.This ‘door’ must be closed when the sheep are at rest in order to be preserved.
I remember as a child when I passed through a door and I did not shut it. I was often told by my parents: "Do you think you are living in the Coliseum? After you walk through a door, just close it again". In fact, the Coliseum in Rome, today, is a large building in ruins made of many openings without any doors. Metal gates for tourists are another thing. In Italian, this expression has simply become proverbial to describe an open building, without doors. In fact, it is also something children must learn, namely closing doors and switching off lights. In fact, they often pass through a door, but then, perhaps out of laziness, leave it wide open. This way in winter, heat cannot be conserved. Some time ago I remember ironically telling my son, "Wait, I have to help to remove the door from its hinges and take it away." With surprise he replied: "But why do you want remove the door?" And I replied "Why, you do not need it so we will not bother ever to open or close it anymore....".
Doors difficult to pass
There are certain doors through which we would never pass and which intimidate us. It could be the door of a prison, the door of a nursing home when you're old and you know that you will no longer leave to go ‘home’ because you're no longer in the condition to liveon your own own any longer. It may be the hospice door for a terminally ill patient who knows he will soon die soon and go another way: only leading to the gates of death. These doors make us very afraid, and it is understandable. In England, the river gate of the Tower of London is still called ‘Traitor’s Gate’, and in Elizabethan times, usually death was the only exit.
We could at this point mention other examples of doors that we have pass through in life, but today I am just concentrating on those doors through which we are particularly afraid to pass: that of Death. The topic maybe for some not be pleasant, but we have to deal with death as well as life. "Hiding our head in the sand" will be of no use.
Passing from death's door had been far from easy, even for the Lord Jesus, who was well aware of what He had to encounter upon entering the week before Easter in Jerusalem. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as the gospel according to Matthew say, Jesus "... said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me”(Matthew 26:38). And again it is written: "Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will'" (Matthew 26:39).
A change of perspective
Jesus's death on the cross was a terrible experience, but He could bear its sting, as he looked beyond it, to another door he would have passed through, the one of resurrection, His victory on sin and death, the successful accomplishment of the eternal salvation of those were entrusted to Him. The letter to the Hebrews say: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Yes, let us ‘keep our eyes fixed on Jesus’, as this text says. Thereisn lies the secret of overcoming our fears. Let us look to Him, who shared all of our human experience and that opens to us the joyful prospect of resurrection. This way, death does not become for us the entrance in some kind of “dark room" from which we can no longer come back, but, if Jesus accompanies us through this darkening room, we will see that down there at the bottom of that dark hall, in that dark tunnel, there is another door, ushering to something completely different, a glorious resurrection in a dimension which is totally different from ours, the dimension of eternal life and joy. It through that door that Jesus wants to accompany us. Listen to what He says in the same letter to the Hebrews, in its second chapter: "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants "(Hebrews 2:14-16).
Not as well the phrase "set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death". Yes, only Jesus can free us from the fear of death. Indeed, the ‘sting’ of death is guilt over the burden of unforgiven sins, heavy regrets at having done or valued the wrong things in life. But this ‘sting’ before God is taken away for believers who are trusting in Christ for their salvation. They ‘escape’ death completely on the Last Day. So though they too pay ‘the wages of sin which is death’, they do not suffer its eternal consequences. Therefore their last enemy, Death, is conquered.
It is for this reason that Jesus said, "I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved." We have to pass many doors in our lives, often doors through which we have no desire to pass through. Jesus can give us the courage to go through even the toughest tests of our lives, without ever falling in despair. This is one reason why I urge everyone in every circumstance to move confidently through that door that is the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Those trusting in Him are never abandoned to complete despair.
I. A door is something to open
A door, is something to open. Jesus is the one who opens up for us the doors of communion with God, the source of life, meaning and eternal life. The Gospel calls us to trust in Him and to follow Him without fear. Who else in the world could give us such a hope? It is not a vague hope that the gospel proclaims to us. As we place our trust in Jesus and follow Him without fear, He, through His Holy Spirit, will give us the inexplicable and unshakeable inner certainty that our confidence was well placed. It is this same inner certainty that will allow us to live our life here on earth, with all its ups and downs with strength and determination, fighting with hope against all kinds of evil.
Another expression of the New Testament that reflects the idea that Jesus is the door is that Jesus is the Mediator, the only possible go-between of us and God. God is everything our soul could ever wish. For the Scripture says: "Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules. The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops. Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this "(2 Timothy 2:3-7).
II. A door is something to shut
Jesus is the door. A door, however, also serves to shut. What is it that we leave behind as we pass with confidence through that door, Jesus Christ? Well, we leave behind a futile and empty life, full of corruption and sin. Whoever passes the door of Jesus closes off, abandons the past without wanting any more to return to his or her old liife. Old, dirty and condemned by God is a life founded on the love of sin: it is all that God hates and that only hurt us and make our existence ultimately ruinous.
Describing the old and dirty sins left behind by the Christians of the city of Ephesus, the apostle Paul says "And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath 14 even as the rest… But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! "(Ephesians 2:1-5).
More: "Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh – who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands – that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, 26 having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:11-13).
Anyone who goes to Christ and passes through that door, recognizes and confesses all his or her sins, leaving them, like a heavy backpack, outside the door and as he or she goes through, happy be finally freed by the grace of God from all that was ruining life. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Anyone who goes to Christ shuts out the life he or she had before with no regrets, because all it is all surpassed by the wonderful blessings and fullness of life which is in Christ. This is something in comparison to which the assets and values of this world pale, or rather, they are just ‘rubbish’.
III. A door is something to lock
Jesus is the door. A door has a lock, and the door can be and sometimes needs to be closed, with a key. What does this mean? It means that once the burden of the old life, of sin, has been left behind, we must not think or look back anymore. This is now the past: it has bean dealt with for good. There are those who drag us back, even after having placed their trust in Christ, adding to us a heavier guilt for the wrongs committed in the past. Often, even these feelings of guilt make us doubt we are really saved. But if we have sincerely confessed their sin, setting them at the feet of Christ and receiving forgiveness and deliverance, the Word says that we no longer have to fear. Who can question the Word of God? We must really forget all the past. It 's just Satan, in fact, the one that Scripture calls "the accuser of the brethren" who would have us drag up, exhume our sins, making us doubt the full and complete forgiveness that God got us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Why would we exhumate a corrupted and stinking corpse? Let us leave it down there, where it belongs. It should no longer artificially reappear to haunt us. What we were is now past: we have received a new being, a new creation by God. We do not need it any more. Our past has been dead and buried, by Christ. We really and legitimately forget and say to Satan: "Shut up. I do not want to hear your lies. I do not want to recall what has been destroyed in Christ and forgiven”. Christians are spiritually regenerated people, the “old man” in ourselves is in the process of disappearing. Our bodies themselves, although keeping their basic identity, will be also transformed at the final resurrection. The Scripture says:,"There is no other God like you! You forgive sin and pardon the rebellion of those who remain among your people. You do not remain angry forever, but delight in showing loyal love. You will once again have mercy on us; you will conquer our evil deeds; you will hurl our sins into the depths of the sea. You will be loyal to Jacob and extend your loyal love to Abraham, which you promised on oath to our ancestors in ancient times" (Micah 7:18-20).
IV. A door is for the stability
Jesus is the door. A door that we closed and then locked from the inside gives us confidence and stabiliiy. We left off our sins: they do not disturb us anymore. The door is closed to protect us against thieves and robbers, thieves of our joy and well-being, against those who would want to deny and rob us of whatever we have achieved though Christ. These are Satan’s temptations, those in which the enemy would have us fall. We remain safe behind our closed door, which is Christ. The closed door, Christ, protects us from wind and storms. The wind is wrong ideas, ideologies and doctrines, those which are not in harmony with the biblical revelation. The Scripture tells us that: "Do not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings. For it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not ritual meals, which have never benefited those who participated in them" (Hebrews 13:9). Yes, we will not be confuse our mind by teachings of the world, which are not in harmony with the wisdom of God, because although the world gives them so much value and importance, they are the opinions of mere men and thus foolishness to God. We will cling to the Bible and keep the door, which is Christ well locked, and without fear: it will protect us from them. These robbers may want to demolish our walls, or even seduce us and try to lead us to unlock and open the door. However, we will resist and Jesus Christ will not disappoint us. Conclusion
Jesus said, "I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved, and will go out, and find pasture"(John 10:9). This is a beautiful metaphor, isn’t it? There are many doors in this world that we have to go through, and some we are afraid of. One of these doors is terminal or chronic disease and death. But we must never despair because a wonderful message was announced to us, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is "the door" through which we can move though with confidence and once inside we ‘find rest for our souls. ’The Lord God says: I know your deeds. Look! I have put in front of you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, but you have obeyed my word and have not denied my name"(Revelation 3:8).
If you have not done so already, will you go through that door, which is Christ, today?
I pray the Lord that you can do so.
(Paolo Castellina, May 6, 2014).