Summary: The only way to heaven is through Jesus the Door.
Rev. Brian Bill
February 20-21, 2016
A mixed metaphor combines images that don’t always make sense. Here are some of my favorites:
• Running around like a chicken chasing its tail.
• Stick your neck out on a limb.
• We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.
• That’s about as funny as a screen door on a submarine
While these metaphorical mix-ups won’t make an English teacher happy, they can be very effective because they stick in our minds. We shouldn’t feel too badly if we struggle to comprehend our passage today because John 10:6 says, “This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Part of the challenge is that the word “door” is used four times with several different meanings in John 10:1-10. Follow along as I read:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “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 listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Doors are some of the most common things in the world, present in some form in all societies and cultures. Here are a few from Dublin taken by Patty Steele and a couple from the Dominican Republic taken by our daughter Emily. Don’t you love how Jesus takes what is common in order teach us profound truth about His worth and His work?
We’ve already seen that He takes ordinary bread and declares Himself to be the extraordinary Bread of Life. Last week we learned that the qualities of light reflect the kind of Savior He is when He said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
BTW, there was a cool shoutout on Facebook this week from a guest who came to one of our services last weekend:“…I journeyed to the distant land of Rock Island, braving snow and impatient drivers to attend Edgewood Baptist Church…the coolest thing was coming out of the service and seeing the members of the congregation cleaning off other people’s cars.”
Let’s make a few observations.
1. This “I AM” phrase is both personal and powerful. Like He does with the other Messiah Metaphors, Jesus states strongly: “I, even I, and only I, am the door.” His listeners would have immediately thought of Exodus 3:14: “I AM WHO I AM.” This is a staggering statement of His sovereign supremacy.
When Jesus declares Himself to be the door, passages like Psalm 78:23 come to mind: “Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven.” They would have also thought of Genesis 28:17, when Jacob had a dream of a stairway to heaven: “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
2. Jesus is contrasting himself with the phony Pharisees. In particular, He is referencing the events of chapter 9 in which He gave sight to a man who was born blind. Because of an unfortunate chapter break, it’s easy to think that chapter 10 is a different conversation. The Pharisees ostracized this new believer and according to 9:34, “they cast him out.” Because of this, Jesus subsequently accuses them of being thieves and robbers in 10:1.
3. The setting is a normal day for sheep and a shepherd. In verses 1-5, it’s morning and the shepherd is forming his flock. In verses 7-10, the time moves to midday and the shepherd is feeding his flock. Shepherding was not only an important role in that society; the metaphor itself was employed time and again in the Scriptures to show God’s loving heart toward His lambs. Psalm 100:3: “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”