Gospel Words: the Door

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 4
IN the previous verses our Lord speaks of Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep entering the fold of Israel by the door or God-appointed means.
Here, for the best reasons and the fuller display of the grace and truth which came by Him, He presents Himself as the Door of the sheep, rather than of the fold.
" Jesus therefore said to them again, Verily, verily, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All as many as came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: through me if any one enter, he shall be saved, and he shall go in and shall go out, and he• shall find pasture. The thief cometh not but that he may steal and slay and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have [it] abundantly " (vers. 7-10).
The fold is here left aside. What could Judaism avail for the saints any more than sinners? Christ is the door of the sheep. They might be cast out like the blind man whom He caused to see. Where were they to turn, and whither go? " I am the door of the sheep." He is the entrance to the new and abiding blessings of God for His own, the entrance to the God that blessed them, yea, to the Father, as they learn in due time. He is the object of faith now more clearly than ever; as He had been truly, if dimly, since sin came into the world. All believers looked to Him that was coming, the Messiah; but now He is revealed as incomparably more.
Had any claimed the sheep? " All as many as came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them." For God protects His own. They might boast and say that they were somebody, like Theudas; they might draw after them a people in revolt like Judas of Galilee. But they were thieves and robbers; and none followed whom the Son made free, only Abraham's seed but not his children.
In ver. 9 He describes Himself in fewer words which convey far more, " I am the door." It is not merely " of the sheep "; it is for any. " I am the door: through me if any one enter, he shall be saved, and he shall go in and shall go out, and he shall find pasture." Can words be more precise or more full? Can blessing for a needy soul be more suited, rich, and secure? He is the door absolutely, away from all evil into all good.
It is Christianity in contrast with Judaism or any other earthly religion. To enter through the door is to believe on Jesus the Son of God. He that does is on His word assured of salvation; " he shall be saved." This, mark it well, is given to him that enters through Christ. No such assurance attends another than the Son of God. He is the Savior, and none else. The church consists of the saved, but cannot save: only Christ can and does. A false church may set up to save; the true church repudiates such a pretension as a lie and a blasphemy. She is but the body, He is the Head; she is the bride, He the Bridegroom. She, being true, is jealous of His honor; she rejects with horror all thought of setting herself in His place as of Satan. She has the Spirit now, as He had when here; but the Spirit does not glorify her but Him. All her privileges are in virtue of Him, and are rightly turned but to His praise.
Salvation then, as it is of God's grace, is through Christ. " Through me if any one enter, he shall be saved." It is not for the Jew only but for the Gentile also; it is for " any one." But he must enter through Christ. Through Me if any one enter, he shall be saved. He may be baptized and be lost; he may take the Lord's Supper, and be lost. If any one enter through Christ, he shall be saved. This He declares; and His words shall endure when heaven and earth pass away.
O my reader, do you believe His words? Do you believe on Himself? Unless He were what He is, unless He were Who He is, neither you nor any other sinner could be saved. But being the Son and becoming the sacrifice for sin, salvation is now open to the poorest of sinners who believes on Him. " Through me if any one enter, he shall be saved." He is the door; and He tells you so. Have you heard Him and entered? Have you taken Him at His word? This is to believe. Do you then believe on the Son of God?
Nor is salvation all that He is now giving. He gives liberty: or as He says here of " any one " that enters through Him, " he shall go in and shall go out." It is in contrast with the penned-up condition of the sheep under Judaism. The law genders bondage; it could not confer freedom. Only the truth, the Son, makes free; and " if the Son therefore makes you free, ye shall be free indeed." So here " he shall go in and shall go out." This is divine emancipation, to us without money or price, to God at the cost of His Son.
There is yet more. For we need now, not salvation nor freedom only, but food; and this He next guarantees. He that enters through Christ " shall find pasture." As He had before taught, the best food is Himself not incarnate only, but dead for us, so that by faith we eat His flesh and drink His blood. This is what most nourishes_ the soul, communion with His death.
O my reader, turn not a deaf ear to God's glad tidings. Fear to treat such a Savior with indifference. Beware of putting off to a more convenient season. God is not mocked. To slight God's law was bad; to neglect His gospel is a great deal worse. The enemy is busy and near. " The thief cometh not but to steal and slay and destroy." This Satan loves, and his servants are many. " I came," says the Lord, " that they [believers] might have life, and have it abundantly." Here He makes a brief transition to His death and resurrection, that the saved might enjoy life, as they do now, in the power of His resurrection.