Sermon Illustrations

Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away breaking her mother’s heart.

Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drug store to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus for Rio de Janeiro.

Maria knew Christiana had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn’t too long before the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home.

The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christiana descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away.

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.” She did. (Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him Savior, pg. 158-159)

One of the most moving pictures of Jesus our shepherd is the shepherd that leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one that has gone astray. Where ever that sheep has gone, whatever mess he had gotten himself into, the shepherd will grab him, sling him to his back and pack him back home to the safety of the fold. Do you need to come home? Jesus is an incredible door that takes in the unwanted, saves lives and brings hope. Hurry while you can. Come to him while the door is open. Come in and come home. He is a mystery and you may be surprised by what you find when you open the door of Jesus. He says, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

From a sermon by Joe Bertone, He Is The Door of Mystery (“I Am The Door”) 8/27/2012

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