We arrived at the Detroit community center to host a children’s afternoon program. We had been asked to lead three hours of programming which would allow the “regular” staff to do much needed planning for the upcoming school year. With supplies and lessons and balls and music in hand, the ten of us stood outside the massive wooden doors waiting for someone to answer the doorbell. A gentleman in a security uniform responded.
We exchanged information. He looked at his clipboard. Then shook his head. “Sorry, you’re not on the list.”
What?? I’ve been in conversation with the program director of months! It’s finally here. We’re finally here. I’m speechless (shocking, I know).
I recovered my voice enough to ask,”May I speak with Mary Smith (not her real name)?”
“Sorry, she’s not here right now.”
“Um… then, may I talk with someone else in your program staff?”
The security-guard-greeter pulled out the Center’s directory and began searching for a new point of contact.
To begin our work, we needed to get through the bolted door. Nothing would happen that day if we merely darkened the door of the community center…(to be continued momentarily)
Beat a Path to the Door
Every journey begins with a door. It could be a car door for a road trip or a metaphorical entrance into a new vocation. Either way, we need to pass through a door . . .
Jesus chose a “door” (or “gate” as in some translations) to illustrate his divine nature. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9) With clarity and purpose, Jesus continued “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Interestingly, Jesus used the metaphor of a door and not a doorway to define his role as Savior and Messiah. Not to be mistaken as a breezy passageway or a revolving door, Jesus declared himself to be the solid entry. Specifically, he was speaking about the entry to a sheep’s pen. No back gate existed. To enter, the sheep must approach this one and only gate.
Not Your Typical Boy Next Door
Let’s look at the circumstances in which Jesus made this pronouncement. He was talking with religious leaders about their spiritual blindness to the workings and judgment of God (John 9). They did not understand. Their rules blinded them to this new movement of God: the Kingdom of Heaven through Jesus Christ. They struggled to comprehend but in most instances they simply refused to accept that God would speak through the Incarnate Christ. He was not the Messiah they expected.
The Door outraged the religious leaders! They clearly heard his claim of divinity but declared him to be demon-possessed and raving mad. Stoning him for his outrageous claim was not out of the question. Jesus’ statement that he alone would supply entrance to the Kingdom and access to God, overstepped every claim of their own self-professed authority and time-honored traditions.
If Jesus was the door, what was their role? It was too much to give up.
There is a moment in time when we stand before the door and need to make the decision. By His grace alone, we can unlatch the gate and step out onto the journey of faith. Jesus offers himself as entrance to the Kingdom.
A closed door offers no opportunity. A darkened door merely absorbs a shadow. Won’t you approach the door?
(continued from above) Our security-guard-greeter returned.
A broad smile stretched across his face, “Come on in! Ms. Smith is expecting you. The paperwork just got mixed up.”
The door swung wide open. We had gained proper entry and were warmly greeted. Now we could really begin!