Summary: Jesus is the door that gives us access into a living relationship with God (includes background info on shepherds & sheep).
Jesus the Door: Access Granted
Intro: [Review series The 7 I AM Sayings of Jesus in John.] When Jesus made these statements, He was using the equivalent of God’s name, as He revealed it to Moses at the burning bush – I AM! It is possible He spoke it in Hebrew or Aramaic, since He was conversing with Jews, but the earliest reliable manuscripts we have of John’s gospel are written in Greek, using the words, “ego eimi.” In our text today, Jesus states, “I Am the Door of the sheep.” What was He talking about?
-Let’s look at some background. [slide] In ancient Israel sheep folds were not like the corrals you might see today. They were crude affairs, often built of bushes or branches, or perhaps a low row of stones or mud bricks. Some were built next to a cave in the hills. Nothing fancy, but they were enough to contain the sheep and keep them from wandering into danger.
-Sometimes multiple flocks were penned together to provide them with more safety. The flocks would mingle, and the sheep were separated by the calls of the shepherd. The shepherd had a close relationship with the sheep of his flock. Middle Eastern flocks were typically small. Shepherds knew their sheep by name, and the sheep recognized their shepherd’s voice.
-The sheep fold had a single opening to protect against robbers and wild animals. Shepherds would become the gate to the sheep fold. They would lie in front of the opening so that nothing could enter without them knowing. These human gates provided entrance to the fold and protection from threats outside.
-When Jesus told His disciples, “I am the door,” He was making a claim both to deity (by His use of I AM), and to the fact that He was the Messiah – the one who would save His people from their sins and make a way for them to know God. So here is the main thought I’d like for you to consider today:
Prop: Jesus is the door that gives us access into a living relationship with God.
Interrogative: What can we learn about Jesus from His statement, “I Am the Door?”
TS: Let’s examine 5 truths about Jesus as the door and see how they relate to us.
I. Jesus Is the Door of Access (John 10:1-3, 6-9)
1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 7 So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
-In the first few verses He makes the point that both shepherds and sheep must enter through the door. If a so-called shepherd tries to get in any other way, he reveals his true identity – thief!
-Then Jesus plainly reveals Himself as the door. Jesus is the way into the sheepfold. In a few weeks we will talk about another “I AM” statement: Jesus said in John 14:6, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus was very plain about access to the Father and entering into relationship with Him.
-The apostles never wavered from this exclusive claim: Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." People will look in other places and try to find some other way to satisfy their hunger to know their Creator, but in vain.
-The sheep only came into the fold as they allowed themselves to be inspected by the shepherd. We may talk more about this next week, but here is how one writer expresses the loving care of the Shepherd [slide]: “He has the horn filled with olive oil and he has cedar tar, and he anoints a knee bruised on the rocks or a side scratched by thorns. And here comes one that is not bruised but is simply worn and exhausted; he bathes its face and head with the refreshing olive oil and he takes the large two-handled cup and dips it brimming full from the water he has brought for that purpose, and he lets the weary sheep drink. God’s care is not for the wounded only; it is for those who are just worn and weary” (William Allen Knight: The Song of Our Syrian Guest). Psalm 23:5 “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”