7485 - I Am the Door

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Today we are studying the phrase uttered by Jesus, "I am the door (KJ) or the gate (NIV). Thirty-six times in the Greek New Testament Jesus Christ uses the phrase "I am" in various statements. Twenty-three of these occur in the Gospel of John. Sometimes Christ simply meant "It is I," but other times He was stating His deity, because "I am" is how God describes and names himself in the Old Testament.

In Exodus (3:13) when Moses asked God His name, God said to Moses, "I am who I am. That is what you are to say to Israel: 'I Am has sent me to you.'" God says His name is "I Am," and this name is a form of the Hebrew "to be". God's name tells us that He is, He exists. He is eternal and has always been and will always be. He is sovereign and will be what He will be. He is faithful and will always be what He has always been, the same yesterday, today and forever.

Seven times in John's Gospel, Christ joins His "I am" statements with vivid metaphors which picture who He is and what His unique role is as God's only Son and as our Savior and Lord:

Chapter 10 of the Gospel of John talks about sheep and their shepherd. Let me share some of these verses.(John 10:1-10) :

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

If the sheep were being pastured in an area where there was danger from wild animals or from robbers then the sheep were sheltered in a sheepfold or pen at night. These verses from John, bring to mind the mental picture of such a sheepfold, which were very common in the Middle East.

Where rocks were plentiful, a sheepfold or pen was made of rocks stacked firmly to enclose an area with a rock wall. There was a narrow opening through which the sheep would enter and leave.

The purpose of the fold was to protect the sheep. Beauty was not the object. Two things were primary. First the enclosure was to keep the sheep from wandering off. But the greater threat was from wild animals which might attack the sheep, scatter them and make a kill for his meal. So the fold had to be sturdy enough and high enough to keep wild animals away, as well as deter any enemy from harming the sheep.

When Jesus said "I am the gate (in the NIV translation) or the door (in the KJ)," he could have been viewing himself as the opening in the enclosure of the fold. Every sheep had to pass through this opening to go in to find the safety of the fold during the night.

This figure of speech would be in keeping with the greater picture of Jesus as being the one and only way into the kingdom of God--into eternal life.
Several passages of the Bible give this truth.

Acts (4:12) says: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which they must be saved."

In John (14:6) Jesus tells us: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Friend, there's only one way and that way is Jesus Christ.

In Matthew (7:13-14) Jesus speaks about the way to life in these words: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Focus upon that phrase "I am the gate." Have you entered that one and only gate to life. The only way to enter is through placing your reliance and faith in Jesus Christ.