This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.
In different seasons of your life, different things stand out in Scripture. In other words, you read a little differently—the same words, but your eyes and ears are drawn to different places. As I read the New Testament these days, in my late forties, I am consistently bowled over by how brazen Jesus is. This is witnessed by the Gospel writers, and exists in equal measure in the descriptions of Him throughout the rest of the New Testament.
Can’t you see Jesus walking by the seashore, a train of people following Him as He waves His arm out over the deep blue and says, “See all this? I made it.”
And can’t you hear some in the crowd say, “Wait, what?! What did He just say?”
It’s as if Jesus believes His own press. In today’s verses from John’s Gospel, Jesus calmly, clearly, and brazenly announces that He is the one and only way in, so to speak. Jesus is the door of the sheep.
Can’t you hear them again? “Wait, what?! What did He just say?”
The poet David Whyte uses a phrase from time to time: the arrogance of belonging. I’ve long loved that phrase, and I believe it describes Jesus perfectly. To many back then (and many still today) who heard His claims of being the One, their response was How arrogant! If not, How crazy!
But the Son of Man’s arrogance was not of earthly origins like mine and yours. His was divine, with a brazen, face-set-like-flint confidence that He belonged to that particular place and time, that He was on a specific mission to seek and to save the lost, and that nothing would distract Him from that goal. Far from some boast-and-swagger show-off, Jesus was simply telling the truth: “I AM the door of the sheep.”
That kind of particularity has always been scandalous—a stumbling block, a stone to be crushed by if we’re not careful. To loudly proclaim in today’s culture that there is only one way in regard to anything will more than likely get us crucified in some way, shape, or form. Things really haven’t changed that much, have they?
We can respond to Jesus’ claim that He is the door of the sheep with the exact same tone as some of the people back then: Wait, what?! With hearts full of bitterness and doubt.
Or we can respond with a different tone: Wait, what?! With hearts strangely drawn to this brazen voice willing to tell the truth about the only door to the Father’s great love, even if it kills Him.
How do you respond?