The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
January 19, 2014


1) I Am the Door (Bobby Witherington)
2) News & Notes


I Am the Door
by Bobby Witherington

"Then Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved; and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly'" (John 10:7-10).  

In these verses we are introduced to another of the "I Am" statements of Jesus.  By the expression, "I Am," we call to mind the discussion Jesus had with the Christ-rejecting Pharisees as is recorded in John 8:13-59.  These leaders among the Jews claimed to be "Abraham's descendants," having never been "in bondage to anyone" (v. 33).  However, Jesus informed them that if they really were Abraham's children they "would do the works of Abraham" (v. 39).  In reality, while they boasted of being "Abraham's descendants," their spiritual "father" was "the devil" (John 8:44)!  Tragically, theirs was a case of mistaken spiritual identity!  However, they continued to interrogate Jesus whom they accused of having "a demon" (John 8:48).  But Jesus proceeded to assert his own authority and even promised, saying, "If anyone keeps my word he shall never see death" (John 8:51).  At this point the Jewish leaders asked Jesus, "Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead?" (John 8:53).  Jesus, of course, knew that he was the particular "seed" of Abraham Whom God had in mind when the promise was made (Gen. 12:3; Gal. 3:16; Matt.1:1), and he was aware of Abraham's faith in God's promise.  Hence, he said to the Pharisees, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad" (v. 56).

By this point in their discussion, the Jewish leaders were really perplexed; therefore they said to Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham" (v. 57)?  To their amazement, Jesus replied, saying, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58)!

This "I AM" statement of Jesus reminds us of Exodus the third chapter.  According to the contents thereof, God had instructed Moses to deliver the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, so Moses inquired as to what answer he would give when the Israelites would ask him concerning the "name" of the one who sent him.  And God replied, saying, "you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you" (Exod. 3:14).  In this statement the eternality of God is necessarily inferred. God has never been, and will never be, a "has been" God; yea, he is "from everlasting to everlasting" (Ps. 90:2)!  And in his discussion with the Pharisees in John, chapter 8, Jesus used the same expression to refer to himself!  In essence, he affirmed his own deity and divinity.  Of course, if Jesus were simply a mere man, an "ordinary guy," as some have mistakenly affirmed, such a statement would have been blasphemous in nature.  Hence, the Jews, who so regarded him, "took up stones to throw at Him" (John 8:59).

However, concerning himself, Jesus said more than just "I AM."  To the contrary, he affixed the "I AM" statement with other affirmations which would have been ludicrous for anyone other than a divine being to make.  Accordingly, he said, "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35, 48); "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5); "I am the door of the sheep" (John 10:7); "I am the door" (John 10:9); "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14); "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25); "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), and "I am the true vine" (John 15:1, 5).  Properly understood, each of these "I AM" statements constitutes a "sermon within itself."  In this article, we shall henceforth focus our attention upon one of these statements; namely, "I am the Door" (John 10:9).  

To be better able to appreciate this "I Am" saying, it is appropriate to consider some background material.  In John 9 we read of Jesus, on the Sabbath, healing a man of blindness; yea, a man who had been "blind from birth."  The Pharisees inquired as to what had happened, and the man whom Jesus had healed, replied, saying, "A man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.'  So I went and washed, and I received sight" (9:11).  Gradually, as the chapter unfolds, the formerly blind man went from calling Jesus "a man," to calling him "a prophet," to the point of confessing his faith that Jesus is "the Son of God!"  Of course, the Pharisees had already decreed that anyone who confessed that Jesus "was Christ" would "be put out of the synagogue" (John 9:22).  As the chapter concluded, Jesus, in essence, accused them of being "blind" (vv. 40, 41); yea, they were "blind leaders of the blind!" (cf. Matt. 15:14).  Contextually, these were the people to whom Jesus spoke at the conclusion of chapter 9 and the beginning of chapter 10.  

Hence, contextually speaking, in John 10 wherein Jesus spoke of "the sheepfold" (v. 1), "the shepherd of the sheep" (v. 2), called himself "the door of the sheep" (v. 7), and referred to himself as "the good shepherd" (v. 11), he was speaking to some self-righteous, self-centered, "blind" religious leaders who regarded themselves as the means of entrance into God's blessings, and as being shepherds of God's people!  This illustrates the fact that the most deceived of all people are some who purport to be religious leaders!  We now (finally!) return to our topic, it being:

"I Am The Door"

Please note that Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep" (v. 7), and "I am the door" (v. 9).  If Jesus is "the door," then no one else qualifies for that role -- not Mohammed, or the Pope, or Ellen G. White, or Mary Baker Eddy, or Joseph Smith, or any other religious leader, regardless of how "great" he (or she!) might claim to be.  

In John 10:1-6 Jesus used the illustration of the shepherd and the sheep, a most common scene among people of that culture.  Yet "they did not understand the things which He spoke to them" (v. 6).  Indeed, they fit the description of John 9:39, which speaks of people who claimed to be able to "see," but who, because of their prejudice, were "made blind"!  Sadly, they have many, many counterparts today!

In our opening text, John 10:7-10, Jesus spoke to these people "again," and gave an allegorical reply to the conduct of the "blind" Pharisees who had rejected him.  Herein he emphasized the relationship between the door and the sheepfold, referring to himself as "the door."

With great boldness, Jesus said, "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them" (John 10:8).  By this statement, Jesus did not refer to the inspired prophets of the Old Testament.  To the contrary, he often quoted from them, thereby inferring his belief in their inspiration.  Rather he referred to the many pretenders who claimed to be shepherds, but who for their own benefit led the people astray.  We read of such despicable characters in such passages as Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:1-10, and Zechariah 11:4-17.  Such "shepherds" as herein described fed and clothed themselves, but not the flock; neither did they strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, or bring back what had wandered away (Ezek. 34:3,4).  

However, in delightful contrast, Jesus identified himself as being "the door"; yea, "the door of the sheep" (John 10:7, 9).  Hence, through Christ, "the door," one can enter into "the sheepfold" (v. 1), which is "the flock" of God, or "the church of God which he purchased with his Own blood" (Acts 20:28).  

A "door" is a very simple metaphor.  It presumes a "within" and a "without" relationship.  Those who enter through "the door" (Christ) enjoy a relationship not afforded those on the outside.  Christ is "the door" to God; he is "the door" to spiritual freedom; he is "the door" to forgiveness.  It is "through Him" that both Jews and Gentiles have "access by one Spirit to the Father" (Eph. 2:18).  Indeed, he is "the way, the truth, and the life," and no one "comes to the Father," except by him (John 14:6).  As Peter so eloquently said, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  

If Christ is "the door," then all must recognize and respect his authority (cf. Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17); all must obey him to be saved (Heb. 5:8, 9), and all must possess genuine faith in his fitness and his resources as the spiritual provider of the soul.  Through Jesus, "the door," we can "have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).  Any religious leader who does not "enter the sheepfold by the door is a thief and a robber" (John 10:1), who comes "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10).  Only Jesus, who is "the door," is able to provide that abundant life.  Jesus is a strong door; hence, we must not resist him.  Jesus is the only door; hence, we must not obey any message except his saving gospel; we must not be members of any church except his church.  He is an open door, ever ready to receive all who come to God through him.  


Jesus is "the door" to "the sheepfold" (John 10:1, 7, 9) which is his church (Acts 20:28).  Apart from "the shepherd," and outside "the sheepfold," sheep were exposed to the elements, and often fell prey to robbers, wolves, and other beasts of prey.  They had no security!  By the same token, those who refuse to come to God through "the door" and who thus remain outside of Christ's church, the spiritual sheepfold, have no spiritual security.  In essence, they are like lost sheep without a shepherd.  To enter "the sheepfold" through "the door" one must believe (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3,5); confess faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37), and be baptized "into Christ" (Gal. 3:27) "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).  Upon so doing, one enters Christ, "the door," and his "one body," the church (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22, 23), which is his "sheepfold."  Herein one is able to "find pasture" (John 10:9), peace and security, and enjoy that abundant life. Sinner friend, "the door" is still open for you.  Enter today!

-- Via Truth Magazine, Volume XLIX, Number 22, November 17, 2005 http:// www.truthmagazine.com/archives/ volume49/22-november-17.pdf


News & Notes

Bill Colston's surgery went well.  His gall bladder was removed, and he is now healing from that.

Let those of us who are Christians also continue to remember the following people in prayer for their health: Virginia Fontenot, Shirley Young, Cheryl Crews, and Terry and Pam MacDonald.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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