What do these things have in common? The building where you work, the vehicle that provides you transportation and the place you call home?
The answer is a door.
There are multiple doors that we pass through daily, usually taking them for granted unless you can’t find the key to open it and are locked out.
Taking a look at the 10th Chapter of the Gospel of John, we find that Jesus describes himself as a door. Jesus is not only the Good Shepherd, but also is the door of the sheep.
Those listening to Jesus seemed befuddled, and John writes that they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus expanded the metaphor, and in John 10:9-10, makes it very clear: “I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Of course, not all houses had sheep pens, but enough did so the layout was common knowledge to city folk. Attached to the house was a three-sided, walled-in area to provide shelter for the sheep with one door and only one allowed entrance and exit.
The shepherd would herd the sheep into the pen for their safety at night and then keep watch for thieves who might sneak in over the wall at another point from the door.
The door was very important to the sheep. They entered through it for safety, and they went out through it to find pasture, water, and nourishment. They trusted the shepherd who was in charge, keeping the flock from danger and guiding the flock to abundant life. Coming in and going out through the door was essential; both were necessary for the fullness of life.
When you go through the doors of a church for worship, you gather with others to hear the Word of God, to receive a blessing and to rejoice in the truth that the Good Shepherd laid down his life on the cross for all people and recognize Christ’s resurrected presence.
Witness to the Gospel may begin in church, but does not stay there, for it is taken out into all the world. You are invited and encouraged to pass through the doorway of Christ to a new level of maturity in faith and life.
Jesus Christ is that door. It is Christ who has loved us, called us, redeemed us, saved us and granted us His lordship by sending the Holy Spirit to make a home in our hearts.
God’s faithfulness will not go away. No matter how many other doors through which we may pass, it is the one door of Jesus Christ that will keep us safe, feed us abundantly with His word and lead us into the promise of His future.
All this takes place in a world where thieves and robbers try to enter in and do great harm.
The other day an alert person in Minnesota saw a young person sneaking around a back way to a storage unit door so she called 911, thereby averting another bombing and shooting incident in a school and saving countless lives.
Would that we could prevent senseless shootings at schools, movie theaters, Fort Hood (now twice) and at the workplace, but we can’t. It seems there are always those who try to sneak in to steal and kill and destroy, and Jesus is well aware of the risk.
Through Christ, the door, enter into the world to make a difference, for it is God’s good creation. What you say and what you do truly matters. You can be the leader that others look to for the path of righteousness. And when we come to that last doorway of life, which the 23rd Psalm describes as the valley of the shadow of death, the Good Shepherd will be right there. He is the door to eternal life that has already begun! Amen!
The Rev. RAY ZISCHANG is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Killeen.