This will be our last post in connection with the names of our LORD. This series has certainly not been a complete study, but, hopefully, the thoughts presented have stimulated your thinking in appreciation of all that these names reveal to us about our LORD and Savior—both Father and Son.
Jesus identified Himself as both the door and the shepherd in His teaching recorded in John 10. We have already talked about our Shepherd, so today we will explore the concept of Jesus as the Door.
John 10:1–9 & 14 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep….Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture….I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
A door is an entrance that provides access to a place. The place being referenced in this passage is the sheepfold, a place of protection and security for the sheep. The teaching pictures those that place their faith in the LORD and belong to Him as the sheep. Jesus then declares that He provides the access to that safe place; He is the door—the only means through which one can find entrance. Not only does He provide the access to the safe place, He also guards the sheep by controlling that access as the Shepherd. He is pictured protecting the sheep from the attack of the enemy—those whose purpose is to rob the Shepherd of His sheep.
As both the divine Door and the Shepherd, Jesus is unique; He provides the only access, protection and security for those who are part of His flock. Note that it is through Him that the sheep are given the freedom to go in and our and find pasture. I can’t help but be reminded of the words of Matthew.
Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
In this passage Jesus affirms that salvation can only be found through an entrance from a narrow path that leads through a narrow gate. It is beyond my understanding how anyone can call himself “Christian” and think that there is more than one way to be saved. The scripture is very clear and unapologetic. Salvation can only be found through faith in Jesus. Only the sacrifice of Jesus provides redemption for our sin. Only the resurrection of Jesus guarantees the resurrection to life of those that choose to accept His gift of salvation and follow Him in faith. Only Jesus serves as the door to eternal life in the presence of the Father.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Lastly, we look at the scripture in which Jesus identifies Himself as the “true vine.”
John 15:1–6 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
In this teaching Jesus is pictured as the vine that produces branches that produce fruit. The Father is pictured as the husbandman, the caretaker that works to ensure a good harvest of fruit. The fruit is obviously produced by the branches that find life in the vine—those who identify themselves as “Christian,” disciples of Jesus.
Acts 11:26 “And the disciples [of Jesus in context] were called Christians first in Antioch.”
It’s interesting to note that Jesus calls Himself the “true” vine. He embodies truth and, therefore, provides a solid foundation for the growth of the branches. The Father and Son are both integral to the fruitfulness of the branches. The Son provides life and truth to enable the branch to produce fruit, and the Father provides purging to ensure optimal production.
Purging is defined in the Greek as “to cleanse.” That cleansing is said to come “through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Jesus then goes on to explain how that cleansing occurs; it is through abiding in Him as He abides in us. To abide with Him is a picture of dwelling in close relationship to Him. It’s a picture of choosing to live as He would have us live in accordance with the truth revealed to us in His word. He abides in us in the person of the Holy Spirit to comfort and teach us as we seek to maintain that closeness in relationship.
John 14:23–26 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings….But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
There is another important truth being pictured here. Israel was often symbolized by the vine in scripture.
Psalm 80:8-9 “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.”
Isaiah 5:1&7 “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill….For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”
Hosea 10:1 “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.”
Jesus represents the “true vine.” He represents the Father to the world rightly—as Israel was intended to do. As part of that vine, it is the purpose of every “true” Christian to do the same. How do we know if we are “true?” By our response in love to the Savior, the One who gives us life.
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words….”
I want to close by noting the security of the position of the true Christian as cared for by Father and Son. This is one of my favorite sections of scripture.
John 10:27–30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
Our eternal security is pictured by being firmly held in the grip of both the Son and the Father—a grip He declares to be one and the same. This is the ultimate power grip!