One of the characteristics of Jesus that I admire most is His willingness to lovingly teach us even when we are blind to His truth. His use of parables is one way in which He does this, but often He uses items in everyday life as object lessons to help us better understand.
In His efforts to help the Pharisees understand a simple truth, Jesus uses a simple object, a door. John 10:7–9 (NKJV) says, “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.’”
Jesus’ claim to be “the door” is a rebuke aimed at the Pharisees who were self-deceived. It is their distorted view of themselves that Jesus is addressing. In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were the religious leaders and members of a Jewish party that exercised strict piety according to Mosaic Law. The way to God, according to them, was by strictly obeying the Mosaic Law. Ironically, this is something they themselves were incapable of doing. Nevertheless, the Pharisees were right about one thing, it would take perfect righteousness to repair a broken relationship with God brought about by mankind’s unrighteousness.
By calling Himself “the door,” Jesus is saying that the only way to God is to be justified by trusting in Him and His righteousness. The apostle Paul repeats this truth in his letter to those in Galatia. Galatians 2:16 (NKJV) adds, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
For a great deal of my life, I lived the life of a Pharisee. If you were to get a character evaluation from someone who knew me, in most cases, it would be a favorable one. “He’s a nice guy,” they would say. I was not a religious man per se, but self-righteous none the less. Like the Pharisees, my self-evaluation was incorrect. “I am not perfect, but not as bad as most,” I would conclude.
Jesus also mentions that those who came before Him were thieves and robbers. Have you ever noticed that thieves and robbers rarely use the front door? By avoiding the door, the self-righteous are attempting to steal and rob something that only Jesus can provide – His righteousness.
Jesus’ claim is this, “If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (verse 9).
They will be saved from what? It is the penalty due to the unrighteous. It is eternal separation from God.
I was a thief and a robber, but by His grace, I walked through “The Door.”
Have you entered through “The Door” or are you trying to get in another way?