by Suzanne Miller
A door can be open or closed to us. It’s up to us to find our way in.
A few years ago we replaced our front door. The previous one had been a set of double doors with small window panels at the top. While some sunlight emitted through, it mainly offered a wide entrance with little beauty. The new door has a large oval window panel with the appearance of clear stained glass. On either side of the door are narrow panels in the same motif. Even though the entrance now is considerably narrower, more light pours into the room during the day. Sometimes it refracts the light into rainbow colors across the floor and walls. At night a warm glow from the house flows outside to the patio. What a difference that new light-giving door offers to those who are both within and without.
Doors, the way, and light are words used in the Bible as analogies of Christ. We are told in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate because narrow is the gate and difficult the way which leads to life.” (NKJV throughout). What is that way, that narrow gate? Jesus said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There is only one way, or truth that we can follow and that way has been revealed to us by Jesus Christ. There are not many roads, or doors that lead to eternal life. There is one Lord, and one faith. (Ephesians 4:5)
John 10:7, 9 describes Christ as the door, or gate of the sheep fold. In verse 11, He says, “I am the good Shepherd.” He cares for the sheep and leads them gently in and out of that gate. What is interesting though, is that not only is He the Shepherd of the sheep, He is also the gate, or door by which they come and go. This describes a total involvement in the lives of the sheep. We are those sheep. Jesus tells us, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20). Christ offers a calling, a knocking on the door for us – the sheep – to come through the door, but the Shepherd – Christ – is the one who leads us in and out.
There is a well known professor and doctor of animal husbandry named Temple Grandin. Due to her severe autism, she perceives things in a different way than most ordinary people. As a youth on her uncle’s ranch, she noticed that the cattle calmed down when they were brought through a narrow shoot one at a time. They felt more secure and would then allow the rancher to work on them as needed. However, when the animals were driven all together through a wide area, they panicked and could became injured, or die in the stampede. Her observations led to significant new methods being developed for the humane practices of dealing with cattle throughout the industry. Today many ranchers use her methods of leading animals through a narrow gate with plenty of light. The animals proceed calmly and willingly without fear. (for more information: http://www.grandin.com)
Another attribute of Jesus Christ is that of being a light. In John 8:12 it says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” We want to go through that narrow door led by our Shepherd – our guiding light – because He has our best interest at heart. He doesn’t leave us out in the dark to find our own way. He offers us His light to guide us along the narrow path and through that door at the end. Psalm 27:1 describes this beautifully by saying, “The Lord is the light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” We can go confidently for our Shepherd is lighting the way.
Psalms 23 has a beautiful description of what that Shepherd wants to do for His sheep. We must be willing to be led through that narrow gate; (the valley of the shadow of death) led by the Light guiding us to life-sustaining sustenance and safety.
In his book entitled: A Shepherd Looks and Psalms 23, Phillip Keller says, “As each animal comes out of the corral and through the gate it is stopped by the shepherd’s outstretched rod … he examines the sheep with care to see that all is well… It is, too, a comfort to the sheep, for only in this way can it’s hidden problems be laid bare before the shepherd.” (page 116) The narrow gate allows the shepherd to care for his sheep, just as going through Christ as the door allows us to enter into life.
Maybe the next time you see a door that gives off beautiful light, or a gate that leads out into a rich pasture, you will think of Jesus Christ. He is our Door, our Way, our Shepherd, and our Light.