How many of you want to be in heaven? I certainly do, and I hope you feel the same way! But, even if we do want salvation, how do we find it? The Bible indicates what seems to be a contradiction.
Read John 14:6:
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ”
So, Jesus is the way. What does that mean? How is He the way? Well, take a look at John 10:7, 9:
“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.’ “
Oh, then Jesus is the door! But, how do we go through? Matthew 7:7:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (emphasis added)
Now look at Revelation 3:20:
“ ‘Behold, I [Jesus] stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.’ “
Such a beautiful promise! At yet, when you think about it, it poses the contradiction I mentioned earlier. Do we knock, or does Jesus? Does He let us in or do we let Him in?
One of the best things to do if you have questions during Bible Study is to look at the context of the passage or passages you read. So let’s begin with Revelation 3:7, 8, 14, 20-22. (In chapters 2 and 3 Christ is addressing the different churches through John the Revelator.)
“ ‘And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, “These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’: I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ “ ‘ “
What in the world does verse 7 mean? If you do some research, you will find that this verse is quoted from Isaiah 22:22. Let’s take a look at that verse:
“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.”
Who are all the pronouns referring to? Look back at verse 20:
“Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah.”
Eliakim was the king in Israel (2 Kings 18:18). But back to Revelation 3:7. What is a key used for? Of course! To unlock a door. Then, look again at verse 8:
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.”
And open door! So someone must have unlocked the door and opened it. But where does that door lead? And who unlocked and opened it?
Notice the last part of verse 7:
“. . . He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.”
Let’s look at a parallel verse in Matthew 16:19:
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (emphasis added)
Oh, so contrary to what many people believe, this is not referring to the apostle Peter, but to Christ! The door leads to the kingdom of heaven, and Christ, the King of the universe, has unlocked and opened it with His sacrifice for our sins!
So, that “contradiction” is taken care of and understood. What about the other one? We still want to know why Jesus knocks on our doors and comes in to us.
“ ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’
“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. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’ “
If you were watching closely, you would have noticed a seeming contradiction in just this context! Look again at verses 1 and 2.
“ ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.’ “
He who enters by the door is who? That’s right: the shepherd of the sheep, who we know is Jesus (verse 7). But now glance back at verse 9:
“ ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved . . .’ “
Wow, wait a second! How can Jesus, the shepherd, enter the door and be the door at the same time? This is getting very confusing!
Let’s not lose our heads. This may have something to do with these verses: James 5:9 and Matthew 24:3, 33 (respectively).
“Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ “
“So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!”
Now we’re getting the big picture! Before His second coming, Jesus is the door to us by what He did for us on the cross. At His second coming, our heavenly Shepherd will come through the doors of eternity, and take us to be with Him forever.
He is coming so soon (He is almost through the door), and He is so loving that He can’t stand the thought of leaving any of us behind—even if we deliberately walk away from Him. He will still come to us, and plead with us to open the doors of our hearts; knocking, waiting, hoping. He never gives up! He loves us so much that He does not want us to perish, but to have everlasting life (John 3:16)!
What about you? Perhaps you were so eager to find salvation that you knocked on the door before you. Perhaps you don’t think it has opened yet. Claim the promise that Christ, through his death and resurrection, has “set before you an open door.”
Perhaps you have closed the door of your heart to Christ’s. Perhaps you have heard Him knocking but haven’t responded. Won’t you open your heart and let Him come in? He doesn’t care how messy your “house” is—in fact, He is there to help you clean it up! The opportunity will not last forever (Luke 13:25; Matthew 25:10). He will soon come to earth to take Him children home. Don’t you want to be one of those children? Then open the door of your heart, and let Christ enter in. It will be a decision you will never regret!
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”