For my twelfth birthday, my Mom took me to see my childhood idol, Amy Grant, in concert. To say I was a fan would be an understatement. I had all of her records and tapes and spent untold hours memorizing every word of her songs. Having never been to a concert before, I asked if I should take all my records with me, just in case I met her she’d have something to autograph. Clearly, I didn’t know how this whole concert thing worked…or maybe I was onto something.
At the concert, a sign read, “Win Backstage Passes to Meet Amy Grant!”
I joined a throng of teenage girls and manically filled out as many entry forms as possible. To increase my odds of winning, I carefully folded each entry in a fan-like pattern, making them ever so slightly easier to grab. During a bathroom break, I decided to stop by again to fill out a few more forms.
Bent over my entries, I heard the snap. Suddenly, the table dropped out from under me, and the heavy entry form box flew through the air and landed directly on my head. In the confusing aftermath, I tried to act cool. It took all of what remained of my bruised pride to not burst into tears. Even though I was seeing stars, I managed to appropriately fold my last entry and drop it into the box. I ran back to my seat, where I proceeded to let it all loose.
Behind closed doors
My first concert was not off to a great start. But a few songs later I was singing along again. When the concert was over, I begged Mom to see who had won the backstage passes. Sure enough. High above the crowd was a sign with my name as the winner of the backstage passes. (I like to think they legitimately picked my name, but it was probably a combination of feeling guilty for whacking me upside the head and my ingenious folding pattern.)
A few minutes later, the concert promoters led us through a maze of corridors and doors. Finally, through one last door marked, “Restricted” we entered the hallowed chambers of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith.
Where I was previously unable to enter, I now had access. On the other side of those restricted doors, I got to meet her, and my pre-teen life was made!
Every day we go through doors. They are so ubiquitous that we hardly pay any attention to them. This most utilitarian metaphor of being a door is the third of seven “I am” statements Jesus said about himself. (Bread and Light being first and second.) He said,
“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
In John 9 and 10, Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees for healing a man who was born blind and doing so on the Sabbath. How dare Jesus do a miraculous act of mercy on a day of rest! It was clear, based on their outrage, that the spiritual shepherds of the people had no regard for the well-being of the sheep. They, who should’ve been keeping watch, were instead acting like hired help. The sheep may be stupid, but they recognized their shepherd’s voice and only followed him. The Pharisees were clearly concerned at how much the sheep were responding to Jesus’ voice.
Jesus had not yet identified himself as the Good Shepherd (that’s coming in the next few verses). But here, Jesus took the opportunity to further differentiate himself from the so-called shepherds of the day. He was not like the Pharisees, or the hired help, who didn’t care about the sheep. Rather, he cared so deeply for the sheep, he considered himself the first line of defense.
“I am the door.”
In those days, shepherds would lead their sheep into a pen at night to keep them safe from predators. If the pen didn’t have a door, the shepherd would sleep across the doorway. He acted as a physical barrier to keep the sheep inside, and the wolves, thieves, and robbers outside. As the door, the shepherd was the first line of defense, protecting his fold, but he was also the first point of access, giving the sheep a means of entry into the pasture.
“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). Jesus as the door isn’t only the way in, and out, but as the door, he was the very place of salvation, liberation, and preservation.
- SALVATION: Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…”. The invitation is exceedingly broad. Access to this door isn’t “Restricted” to a few backstage pass ticket holders. Rather it’s accessible to anyone who enters through the door marked, “JESUS.” The result is the promise of salvation.
- LIBERATION: Jesus said the ones who go through his door will have liberty to “go in and out.” We have the freedom to go wherever we want on the errands of God and we’re protected by his almighty power.
- PRESERVATION: Lastly, Jesus said those with in and out privileges will also “find pasture.” This speaks to the ongoing nourishment of our souls as we feed upon his Word. It’s here, next to the door, that all of our spiritual and physical needs are met by our Shepherd.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Whatever your heart needs to live upon, to fill it, to sustain it, to comfort it, to make it grow, to develop it, to perfect it, you shall find it all in Christ Jesus his Lord and Savior.”
As the door, and next to his lush pasture, Jesus is all we’ll ever need for salvation, liberation, and preservation.
Unlike the doors that separated me from my childhood idol, there is a door that allows us entry into the most hallowed presence of God. It’s the door of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to take a hit upside the head or win backstage passes to enter. In fact, the Savior took all those hits for you. But while anyone can go through this door and be saved, it is an exclusive door. It’s the only one that will lead to salvation, green pastures, and still waters.
In the beautiful plan of God, Jesus is the only door to heaven. He’s also the only true celebrity, the Famous One we long to meet on the other side. Come to the open Door. It’s wide open, and he welcomes you in!
P.S. Speaking of sheep and shepherds, grab a free copy of my ebook, Paths of the Righteous. It’s a 6-part devotional on David’s Psalm 23, I hope you’ll enjoy.