December 17, 2011

Jesus is the door to life

Last night we enjoyed a local production of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. This old story still speaks to today’s audiences, perhaps because we so easily get caught up in the same blindfolded drive for prosperity as Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a metaphor — showing our need for a changed life

Metaphors help us more fully understand all the realities of life. No doubt this is why Jesus used many metaphors to describe Himself and His purpose for being on earth. He called Himself the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Morning Star, the Good Shepherd. He also said I AM, referring to the name of God so sacred that the Jews would not pronounce or write it, substituting LORD in its place. This man who is God came to earth because we are sinners. He provides the only access to His Father.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
In metaphor, Jesus also describes Himself as the entrance to life eternal. He is the way into a relationship with God the Father. He is the truth and eternal life. In another short verse, He offers four precious privileges in more imagery to describe Himself.
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)
Here, the first offer is salvation, necessary to the other three, and described just as it is: those who enter by this Door will be saved.

This image of a door is prefigured in the Old Testament. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. Any fugitive manslayer who passed through the door or gate into a city of refuge was safe. Jesus invites all who are laden with sin to come and find their safety, refuge and rest in Him.

Entrance through Jesus takes us into peace with God and guarantees entrance by the same door into heaven. As Spurgeon says, He is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door. I am so blessed because I rest my hope of admission to glory on the crucified Redeemer, the Door.

This verse also offers a going in, a change of where I was to a new place to live. It reminds me of the play last night where family and friends go through a door on stage to share in a meal and celebrate together. Going through the Door called Jesus brings me into a place of communion with God’s people where I share in the love of God and His provision for us.

Even more, entering the kingdom of God through the Door of His Son is a place like no other. Here I meet with the Creator, the King of kings, the Lord of glory. Here I receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and am a partaker of all that God wants for me. No one can know those blessings on the other side of the Door.

Yet Jesus also said that those who enter will go out. This does not mean out from His grace and promises, or out of the kingdom and the blessing of eternal forgiveness. It means we will go out into the world to witness and work for the One who invited us in. We are called to warn sinners, serve the needy, teach the truth, win souls, and glorify God in a world that so easily forgets who He is and who they are. We are the messengers of God and must go both in and out. Jesus bids me to never forget I am here for this reason. The Door has not yet taken me all the way into my heavenly home.

Those who are saved and are going in and out will also find pasture. In context, this verse is about God’s sheep who are under His watchful care. He makes certain that we are taken care of, well fed and able to drink from the water of life. The Lord is our Shepherd, leading and guiding, correcting and teaching. This is a metaphor for all that He provides. I am like a sheep grazing in the best places, enjoying all that He gives me.

Lord, the three spirits that spoke to Scrooge are not unlike the Holy Spirit who speaks to the heart of every sinner, even those of us who have gone through the Door and are saved. Because of You, being in Your blessed kingdom means that the past is forgiven, the present is blessed, and the future is completely secure. Thank You for opening the door of my heart that I might step through the Door of Your heart and enter the wonderful blessedness of never-ending life with You.

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