Bread – Exits

March 20, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, March 20, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Jer. 25:30-38; Rom. 10:14-21; John 10:1-18; Psalms 119:145-176, 128,129,130

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From our reading today in the Gospel of John: “So Jesus again said …I am the door of the sheep…I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7-9. Jesus goes on to say that He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep, that He knows them and they know Him, and that His sheep come from many places (folds).

Because of Sunday School and the pictures we see of a shepherd (someone who looks like the painters concept of Jesus in the flesh) and sheep, this is actually one of the Bible passages best known by people, even if they are not followers of Christ.

But like many commonly known passages, there is a piece of it that I have missed until today – “If anyone enters by Me, he …will go in and out…” John 10:9.

Isn’t it interesting how doors are both entrances and exits. If you want to come in, you come through the door. If you want to leave, you leave through the door.

Come into where? Exit from what?

First, there is shelter. There is the pen in which the sheep are located, where they are safe, where they are gathered together. This is shelter for the sheep. To get there the sheep go through a door. When that door is Jesus Christ, the protection throughout eternity is secured, because He is the good shepherd and lays down His life to protect the sheep from Satan and death, from the judgment that they deserve but from which they are rescued by the mercy of God. What are the sheep exiting from? From a world groaning under the weight of man’s disobedience to God, under the burden of sin. From confusion. From loss. From hurt. From a life of disobedience unto a grateful life dedicated to God’s standards for life and not ours. From danger to safety. From death to life.

Second, there is freedom. There is the green pasture out in the world where the sheep can rest in the sun, graze on good food, and be protected from predators by the diligence of the good shepherd. The entrance to this freedom is through the door. When that door is Christ, we can enter the world confident that we, in all circumstances, are given the green pasture by the God who so loved us that He sent His Son to die for us that we might have eternal life. We can leave the sheep pen and enter into the same world we left, free of the burdens of Satan (fear, loss, degradation, powerlessness, lack of self-control), free to follow Jesus into green pastures. We are entering the world as free men and we are exiting our prison. It is a prison because the sheep pen can be and is a source of protection, but it is also a place of stagnation if we stay there. We may rest under God’s wing, but we must take up our own cross and follow Jesus out into the world.

Where do you need to exit from in order to find green pastures? Do you need to exit from the prisons of relationships, of addiction, of work, of play, of immersion in sinful behavior, of depression, of confusion, of fear? Jesus is the door. He is the exit from those things, and He is the entrance into eternal green pastures.

“If anyone enters by Me [Jesus], he … will go in and out…” John 10:9. Jesus is the door into peace and protection, and He is the door out to green pasture, to victorious engagement with the world in the power of the Spirit.

This is good by itself, but it is not the best. Preceding the “in and out” phrase is one even more important. “If anyone enters by Me [Jesus], he will be saved…” John 10:9

There it is. The big exit and the big entrance. The big exit from death and the big entrance into eternal life.

Perhaps you are friends with someone (even yourself) who needs to find this door, this Jesus. In today’s reading from Romans, Paul asks the questions – How can you call on Jesus if you do not believe Jesus? How can you believe Jesus if you have never heard of Him? How can a person hear unless someone tells them? Who is to tell them, except someone who is sent to tell them?

The exit from one place is the entrance to another. Jesus says “I am the door.” Take the exit from death and the entrance to eternal life. Take it. And if you have already taken it, show others where it is. Please.

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© 2013 GBF

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