The Door That Won’t Disappoint…and It’s Always Open…John 10:1,7,9
Anytime I’m on campus, I look for those underbelly slices of life that tell more about university life than the official catalog or website. Bulletin boards do that. Doors to dorm rooms and suites are even better because, while most bulletin boards are public, the doors stand as gateways into the personal space and life of whoever lives inside. Some are blank; some have name tags. Some have message boards (usually women’s dorms) and always seemed to me to be a target saying, “Write something stupid or profane here.” Some shoot for the outrageous (usually men’s dorms) with bright red letters of flame announcing that “Meatball and the Maniac live here” or “We love freshmen, especially filleted and slow cooked in a fine white sauce.” Going on would rapidly take us beyond the gravitational field of good taste – but we could.
Sandwiched in tight with another metaphor, Jesus says in John 10:7, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” Truly means seriously and for real. For true in spades so pay attention. “…he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other, he is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1) Doors let us in and keep us out. But they tell us a lot of things. Some doors say that not everyone is welcome. Some haven’t been opened in a long time. Maybe nothing inside is worth it or opening just got too hard and people gave up. Some are pretty. We say, “Hmm, nice.” But we keep moving, motoring to our own plans. Some stop us in our tracks and maybe we take a picture on the cell phone. Some even flirt with us daring us to come up and at least jiggle the knob.
But you have to use the door. I daily drive past a lot of doors in industrial corridors in Detroit. If someone doesn’t want to use them, nasty razor wire discourages creative alternatives. Jesus said He was the door. To what? To what’s inside (Duh! Shred your Mensa card, Dave, and join the SpongeBob Fan Club.). “…if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (v.9) Sometimes we want what’s inside without using the door. We want the “goodies” of the Christian life without the prickliness of dealing with crucified Saviour whose death on our behalf made the “goodies” possible. And who wouldn’t? Take a look at the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 6:22-23). What sounds bad there? But we “climb up another way” looking to leisure and absorption by shallow and trivial pastimes , possessions and money, relationships, prestige and professional or academic accomplishment to satisfy the cravings of deeper wells dug by God. And they don’t.
So what’s inside that God would die for us to have? Salvation (v.9). Our need to be right and get our own way smears its foul sludge on everything beautiful we have or hope for. The local anesthetic of this lie that happiness can be found outside the sheep pen where Jesus is the door doesn’t numb the ache of the heart or dry the tears on the pillow. It will kill us; we know it but we can’t let it go. Like someone touching a live power line, we don’t have it; it has us. Salvation means freedom, a robustly undeserved freedom to break free from everything killing us paid for by the death of Another willing to die in our place absorbing the justice of God for us. Salvation means clean: the residual stain of guilt, self-condemnation, and shame gone and we find dignity of person that God already sees. Salvation means hope. There is light in our futures independent of circumstances in our present. We will not enter one day where we run into anything, anywhere or anyone where Jesus hasn’t gotten there first. Even our death will evaporate quickly into things the Bible can only describe in symbol and allegory. As a pint of human language cannot hold a gallon of the truth of God, we will step into realities light years beyond our imagination. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overpower it.” (John 1:5) Salvation means life. We can’t escape the idea that our breathing is for something. When touched by Jesus Christ, all our intuitions of that buried deep underground sprout roses. It means that a God big enough to create the cosmos through the power of His mind loves and cherishes us.
And aside from John 10, it really happened. Part of the Easter story includes the ripping of the veil in the temple. The veil separated everyone from God, unapproachable in His holiness. When Jesus died, the veil, a huge drape was torn from top to bottom. Instead of a barrier that told everyone to stay out, the holiest intimacies of God now stood visible to anyone. An old veil and a new door were both ripped “so that we could go in and out and find pasture.” (v. 9) It means that everything laid out above can be renewed as often and as much as we need without restrictions, limits or a library card.
Prayer point – Does the summer seem lonely? In comparison with being surrounded by the people in our campus group, it probably does. Maybe there aren’t a lot of bodies around because Jesus wants to shut us away just to Himself. Spend some prayer time enjoying Him, appreciating Him. Read through the miracle stories for some help to get started. How can we not be snagged and hooked on a God with such eager and generous love that jumps into the lives of lepers, the helpless and other people like us?
Action point – If we’re spiritually lonely this summer, that means that we’re surrounded by a lot of people who need to find the Door. May be we can help them. For a good job description for this, look here. Any time I use this on campus, I always use a hard copy because I know I’m going to give it away at the end of the night.
If you think this might encourage a student or someone who loves them, then subscribe, share, twitter, post and all that social media stuff. Or you can just go to Facebook and ask to become part of something called Geezer 1. Even easier, you can shoot a “friend” request to me – “David Swartz”. After DNA analysis of a saliva sample and an Interpol background check, you’re in. You will only make us better but remember that newbies buy pizza for the rest of the gang. Count the cost because a five-minute “Hot and Now” from Little Caesar’s no longer covers it.
Please return your seat to the upright position and return the infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you leave. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.