"I Am the Door"
Jesus said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and
shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:9). This statement is a part of
Jesus' teaching after He had healed the man born blind. It had been at Jerusalem
that Jesus had miraculously healed the man. Evidently the man had been a
familiar sight in Jerusalem, perhaps because he begged for his sustenance at
some busy intersection. It was a powerful miracle that no one could deny.
The man had been brought to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were enemies of Jesus. They confronted Jesus whenever they could. They demanded signs. How about this one? No, not good enough. When the man who had been blind
but now could see refused to deny that Jesus had healed him, he was put out of the synagogue.
The point of Jesus' statement "I am the door" is that the Pharisees were rejecting their only access to God. Jesus later put it another way when He said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6). The same "Light of the World" that revealed the way to the spiritually blind was also blinding to those who thought they could "see perfectly fine without any help from you, Jesus of Nazareth, thank you very much."
The point of Jesus' discourse following this incident is that we cannot make it without Him. He is our door as well. Consider His statement again: "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
"I Am The Door"
"He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:11,12). Jesus described Himself in several different ways. He is the Good Shepherd, the Cornerstone, the Bread of Life and the Water of Life. Salvation has become a very simple matter. There are not four or five paths to heaven and we need not be concerned with the complication of picking the best one for us. There is only one way. All the others lead in the wrong direction (Matthew 7:13,14).
It is with great animosity that the Council looked upon Peter and John when they taught "and there is salvation in no one else." That same anger is directed at those who would teach the same message today by a world that supposes there are many ways to heaven and many names through which to be saved. It will take a great deal of courage to remain loyal to the Risen Lord and insist that He is still the only way.
"If Anyone Enters Through Me"
"Now when they had heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let each of you be baptized for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37,38). Salvation is conditional. We must enter the right door. Each one of us has the responsibility to make his or her own decision to enter the Door and then follow through. The Lord will not drag us over the threshold.
Some say that salvation is totally by grace. Of course, salvation is utterly impossible without God's grace, but to say that its "solely by grace" removes the need for human response. It would mean that we do not have to enter the door. It would be more correct to say that the door is given "solely by grace," but we must have the faith to enter it (Ephesians 2:8).
Speaking of doors, it is as easy to leave by a door as it is to enter by it. Some picture discipleship as entering a door which, as soon as one enters, Jesus slams it shut so and locks it so one cannot leave if he changes his mind. But the sad fact is that some do change their mind, and are free to leave (Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 6:4-6).
"He Shall Be Saved"
"He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." (Mark 16:16). The phrase "shall be saved" occurs in both our main text (John 10:9) as well in this verse. "Salvation" in used in at least two senses in the Scriptures. Sometimes the Bible refers to salvation from past sins when one obeys the gospel, as Jesus does here. But at other times, it is eternal salvation that is being referred to. Peter encourages those who are facing persecution to continue to live faithfully, allowing the trials they face to prove their faith, thereby "obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." (I Peter 1:9). There he is referring to our eternal inheritance to be received at the end (which is really the beginning!).
It should be pointed out that Mark 16:16 elaborates on how one "enters" the Door. These two verses compliment one another, both talking about how to be saved. We enter the door when we obey the gospel. It is not correct to pose these verses against one another and say, "See, one does not have to be baptized to be saved because Jesus said one must enter the door to be saved." Actually, He said both, and both, taken together along with all else the Bible says about salvation, are true.
"And Go In And Out"
"If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31,32). The idea of "going in and out" does not refer to leaving and coming back to Jesus. Rather, it refers to the freedom we have in Christ. We are free to live without regret and fear. We enjoy peace and our wellbeing is not bound by temporal concerns. Though we experience bad times as well as good, we do not "grieve as do the rest who have no hope" (I Thessalonians 4:13).
Freedom in Christ does not mean we are at liberty to disobey Him, however. Grace is not a license to sin (Romans 6:1,2) nor is it an opportunity to serve the flesh (Galatians 5:13). We cannot be free apart from knowing the truth, and we cannot truly and accurately know the truth without abiding in His word.
"And Find Pasture"
"He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters." (Psalm 23:2). The Lord will sustain us. He is our Strength and Provider. He has promised "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." We confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid." (Hebrews 13:5,6).
As God's children, we are as sheep in the midst of a green pasture. We are free to nourish ourselves on what the Lord has provided. We need not be hungry or thirsty. We can stay with the Lord and know His protection. It would certainly be foolish to wander off on our own. We patiently wait, provided with the things we need, knowing that "when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." and that we "are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (I Peter 5:4; 1:5).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 5.8; August 1998