Why Does Jesus Call Himself the “Door”?

The Door of the Sheep

Jesus said in chapter ten of John’s Gospel, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door," verse nine says. “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” (John 10:7–10).

And so Jesus is saying that, as the door, as we enter into eternal life with him and through him, we will be saved. He is access to salvation. He is access to eternal life. And then he makes the statement that they will come in and they will go out and they will find pasture. And that’s actually a reference back to Deuteronomy 28 where the Lord’s blessing on his people is that they will be able to go in and come out. There’s safety in it. There’s provision in it. There’s care in it. Because for a sheep, it’s a good thing to find a pasture. And so this access to salvation and this access to what Jesus goes on to call “abundant life” is found only in him.

Behold and Believe

Courtney Doctor, Joanna Kimbrel

This 7-week Bible study from the Gospel Coalition explores the question Who is Jesus? by walking through his 7 “I am” statements in the Gospel of John.

In just a few more chapters, he’s going to say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. And no one comes to the Father except through me.”

He is the door. He is the singular access to the Father and all the Father has to offer us. He is the singular access to this thing that he calls abundant life, which is goodness of life. It’s different than the good life because we know in this world we will have troubles. But there is peace and there is joy and there is hope for God’s people, for all who have entered in through the door.

And Scripture talks a lot about the gate and the door, and it talks about it being narrow in Matthew’s Gospel. But what we see here is the gate may be narrow, the door is only one, but it leads to the wide open space of abundant life that’s found only in Christ.

Courtney Doctor is the coauthor with Joanna Kimbrel of Behold and Believe: A Bible Study on the “I Am” Statements of Jesus.

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