Summary: One of the claims of Jesus was that He is the Door to salvaton. Using the Eastern sheepfolds, He makes His point clearly to illustrate access to salvation.
I AM the Door
INTRODUCTION: Eastern sheepfolds had only one door which was guarded by a shepherd at night. Most of the sheepfolds were made out of rough stone or mud-brick structures with a partial roof or a cave in the hills. It had a single opening to protect against robbers and wild animals. When the shepherd couldn’t get his flock back to the pen by nightfall, he would search out a spot such as a cave in which to keep his sheep for the night. The shepherd would lie down before the opening and become a living door. Nothing could pass by in or out of the cave without passing over his body. In verse 11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd and in verse 9 he says, “I am the door (gate).” How could he be a shepherd AND a Door too?
The shepherd BECAME the door--the determiner of who entered and who did not.
Oriental shepherds also named their sheep and called them by name. More than one shepherd would bring his sheep into the pen and the sheep were all mixed together. In the morning the shepherd separated his sheep by calling them, and they recognized his voice. He would go outside and they would follow him as a group. They wouldn’t follow a stranger.
Do animals know their names? I know that cats and dogs sure do.
Jesus again in this chapter makes a claim about His deity when he says, “I AM--”
Today I would like to look at His claim of being the Door or the Gate (NIV).
The people hearing Jesus speak were familiar with sheep and shepherds and sheepfolds. This was something they were used to working with or familiar with in that area of the country. Jesus used ordinary things to explain a truth. And even then sometimes they understood and sometimes they didn’t have the slightest clue as to what He was talking about. He starts out by saying, “The person who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but who tries to enter in by another way is a thief and a robber, but he that enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
Jesus was warning his disciples as well as us today about many competing philosophies and false prophets who come and give empty promises about how to find happiness or how to find the way to heaven by some other way. Jesus is not optional.
1. ACCESS: Illustration: I was at a counselor’s meeting and there was a woman at our table who was discussing salvation, and she said, “Jesus is OPTIONAL today. You can get to heaven in a VARIETY of ways.”
This is not scriptural and this is what Jesus was warning his disciples about. In this chapter he is saying, “Anyone who tries to enter by any other way is a thief and a robber.”
Sometimes people will say, “All roads lead to Rome. All roads lead to heaven.” What does the scriptures say about this? Why should we seek or try to customize a different approach to God? Here are a couple of scriptures you should know when people try to persuade you differently.
John 14:6, “I am the WAY the truth and the life; no one cometh to the Father but by me.”
Acts 4:12 “neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Jeremiah 23:1 talks about how people had come in the past claiming to know the truth or be the truth but really they are the ones who are attempting to enter in another way--thieves and robbers. Some people resent that Jesus is the door--the only way of access. The shepherd entered by the door or gate, the only lawful means of entry. The rightful owner enters by the door as one having authority. It’s just like you walking up to your front door--you have a key--you open the door and walk right in. You don’t do that unless you have been given AUTHORITY to do that. Otherwise you would be sneaking around looking for a window that was open--you would be considered a thief or a robber probably if you got in or arrested for unlawful breaking and entering. You might happen to get locked out of your house and have to try to get in some other way but you would still have the authority to enter your house.
ILLUSTRATION: When I was growing up in Duncan Falls we got home one night from church and couldn’t get into the house. Mom told me she would push the basement window open with a mop handle and I was to climb in the window and go unlock the door. The mop handle slipped and the window came down on my head.