Summary: Jesus said, “I am the Door.” What does He mean when He calls Himself the Door?
Who is Jesus? There are a lot of ways for us to try and answer that question. We can study the theology books for the great thinkers’ ideas of who He is. We can work out our own ideas within our own minds. Ore we can look to the One who knows Him like nobody else does… Himself. Throughout the Gospels Jesus gives us several insights into who He is. Sometimes He shows us in His reactions or in His practices. Sometimes He comes right out and says, “This is who I am.”
Last week we began a series on some of these insights, these self-descriptions made throughout the Gospel of John. The first one that we talked about was Jesus’ declaration that He is the Light of the world. He reveals our need. He scatters our fear. And He shows us the way. That’s what light does and I believe that’s what The Light does.
But that’s just one of the statements Jesus made. In John 11 Jesus tells us that He is the Resurrection and the Life. In chapter 14 He says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In chapter 10 He creates the beautiful picture of Himself as Shepherd.
These three descriptions are not going to be objects of study for us during this series because, in the case of Jesus calling Himself the Resurrection or the Way, Truth, and Life, those overlap with some of the other things that we have or will study. And in the case of Jesus calling Himself the Good Shepherd, I have recently preached a message on that topic. But I do want us to go to that passage which is found in John 10. Why don’t we go ahead and read the first 10 verses of that chapter. John 10:1-10…
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Jesus said, “I am the Door.” What does He mean when He calls Himself the Door? I think we can understand this by first understanding the culture from which this image was drawn. This concept of Jesus being the Door is directly linked to His position as the Good Shepherd. You see, in Mid-eastern culture the shepherd leads his sheep all throughout the day, from pasture to pasture. Except in the rainy season, most of the time good feeding areas are sparse. So throughout the day the shepherd leads his sheep, finding the best possible grass for his herd to feed upon. Then, in the evening, he leads them to a watering hole and then to a sheepfold, where they safely bed down for the night.
These folds are generally made out of rock, which is not at all hard to find there in Palestine. But to this stone pen there is only one opening. And at night the shepherd will stand in that opening and examine his sheep for any illness or physical damage as they make their way into safety. He investigates each sheep, one by one, for any burrs or scratches or bruises. If there is something that needs attention the shepherd does what he can to fix the problem. Then he moves out of the way and lets the sheep enter the fold.
Once all the sheep are safely in the fold the shepherd will build a fire outside of that lone entrance in order to scare away any wild beasts that would think about coming near. Then he eats his dinner and finally lies down to sleep for the night. And his bedding spot is none other than that opening to his sheepfold, essentially making himself the door. If his sheep were to escape they would have to pass over him. If any wild animals were to try and steal his sheep they would have to first come through him. The shepherd was the door.