I Am The Door
John 10:9 starts out: "I am the door." This is Jesus talking. Jesus had all sorts of analogies for himself. He called himself the light of the world (John 8:12), the bread of heaven (John 6:35), and the good shepherd (John 10:11). John called him the Word of God, or Logos; meaning the mind, language, and eternal conversation of God (John 1:1). But the sermon today was about why Jesus called himself a door.
The first thing to do is to go to the context of the passage. If we read John 10:1-16, we find that Jesus is talking about sheep. He is saying that he is the door to the sheep pen. In the same passage, Jesus calls himself the good shepherd, and as such he has a special relationship with the sheep. He says that his sheep know his voice, and follow him. They won't come out of the pen for anyone but him. If someone else calls, it is as if there is no door.
I don't have any sheep, so it's a little hard for me to understand this picture Jesus is painting for us. It would have made much more sense to the audience he was addressing in ancient Israel, where shepherding was a way of life for many people. The picture above is a sheep pen like one that Jesus might have been familiar with. Notice that it is pretty secure, all except for the doorway. This one appears to have a kind of wooden gate, which would have offered some protection from predators, but not a lot from thieves or robbers. Either way, I am assuming that the shepherd didn't put the sheep in the pen and then go home to watch Jeopardy and have a hot cup of tea. The shepherd was responsible for the sheep, and stayed with them through the night, guarding the doorway and leading them out to pasture and water in the morning. In fact, the shepherd slept in the doorway, so that he would wake up and be ready to protect them from any danger.
Let's pretend that we are sheep and Jesus is our shepherd. What is this relationship like?
Well, first of all, we are safe. Our shepherd leads us to places that are safe for us to eat and drink by day, and are safe for us to sleep at night. He guards us from predators and thieves, so we don't have to be worried or afraid. We just have to stay near to our shepherd. If we listen for his voice, and follow him, he will keep us safe. He says that he saves his sheep. Even that he lays down his life for his sheep.
Jesus says that the shepherd is the owner of the sheep, not someone just hired to look after them. As our owner, he has a great interest in us. He wants us to thrive. He is able to lead us wherever he wants us to go. Well, he wants to lead us to God! That is why Jesus came. He showed up after the "400 year silence," when people hadn't heard from God for 400 years! He promised that just as he knows us, we can know him, and that through him, we can get to know the Father. He came to be humanity's way back to God.
Verse 16 talks about other sheep which are not of the fold. Remember, the people that Jesus was talking to were Jews. But he said there were other sheep that would hear his voice, and they would be one flock with one shepherd. Christians, he was talking about us. Don't forget that Jesus was a Jew, and he spoke to the other Jews. But his message has gone much farther than that. Today, along with those original Jewish followers, there are followers of Jesus all over the world, on every continent. Sometimes we forget to act like it, but we sheep are all owned by the same shepherd. Aside from all of our doctrinal differences, we are all part of the same flock.
Reverend Singleton closed her sermon by telling us that Jesus is our door out of confusion and chaos. He is calling, if only we will listen. And if we hear him, and we open that door, we will live in security, experience joy, and rest in the peace that comes from knowing who we are. And if you are not sure who you are, you are a child of God. In the first chapter of his gospel, John explains who Jesus is, and how he can offer us the right to become God's children:
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.