A Knock on the Door
“Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come in to you and feast with you, and you will feast with me”. Revelation 3:20 The Passion Translation (TPT)
My sister had a recurring dream in the months before she passed away. She told me about it one day as I sat on the edge of her hospital bed. In her dream, she climbed a long staircase; at the top was a locked door. She tried the door, but it would not open.
I think I shared with her the verse from the Revelation to John; that we are the ones who open the door. Our conversation went no deeper at the time. This recurring dream of hers continued and expanded and there came a time when she opened that door.
Jesus was the one saying the words about standing at the door and knocking. He had taught earlier in the Temple about entering in through the door that the gatekeeper had willingly opened. The one who enters in through the door is the shepherd; the good shepherd, who the sheep know - they recognize his voice. (John 10: 1-5)
We of large cities and metal cars and buildings of glass and steel know nothing of sheep and good shepherds. Jesus tells us he is one, so I need to know what that looks like. Phillip Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherdis my guide this year across these rolling hills and narrow paths.
Keller, with his own experience as a working shepherd in East Africa, describes a shepherd approaching the door to the sheepfold. He has every right to enter, yet he approaches gently, whistling or singing a soft song to alert the sheep within of his approach. Surprising to me, the shepherd pauses before entering to rattle the latch or to tap on the gate as if to say, “I come to you with ‘peaceable intentions’, gently, graciously.
It is the picture Jesus portrayed in the Temple. It is the picture John portrayed in Revelation; “See, I am now standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door…”
The Shepherd asks for permission to enter. I love this! Jesus is not a thief; taking what is not his. He does not force entry. He is not one who would break down the door and enter without being invited. He gently announces his approach and waits for us to open the door.
Years ago I read about the wedding customs of the ancient Hebrew culture. There were conversations between the suitor and the possible bride-to-be’s family. The father would decide if it was a good match for his daughter and for each family. Preparations would begin; but when the groom returned for his bride, it would be the young woman who would choose to open the door to him – or not.
We choose to open the door – or not. But, oh, if we do, it is our kind husband, our good shepherd who enters in. He alone knows us as His own. He brings joy and peace. He brings protection from the predators and leads us into green pastures.
This is the comfort of the Shepherd who enters in through the gate; he knows me well. I recognize his voice. I am happy to open the gate and welcome him in. I do not wander out alone. He knows the plans he has for me. He will lead me out into green pastures where a feast awaits.
“When Christ enters… He brings also the divine resources of love, life, light, and fullness of character which are uniquely His.” (Phillip Keller) What a wonderful promise to open the door to!
Questions: Are you fearful of opening the door and allowing the shepherd to lead you? Do you trust his intentions for you?