Grow Deep: I AM Edition, Week 2
Week 2: February 21-27
I AM the Door …
“I AM the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and will find pasture.” - John 10:9
Recently I came across a “fancy” theological term with which I was not familiar. The term is “The Scandal of Particularity.” It references the truth that only through one Person, Jesus, is it possible to be restored to fellowship with a wholly righteous God. This teaching troubles many in our post-modern age. We bristle at the notion that there are not many paths to God (paths most often of our own making). However, the Scriptures are clear: it is through Jesus alone that we have confidence to come before God’s throne, finding comfort in His presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit. We do not have to go searching through the writings of countless great philosophers, valuable as that may be, nor must we seek the worldly wisdom of current cultural icons. We need only to rest in Jesus, our “doorway” to the Father, our “gate” to the riches of eternal life that begins now and will never end.
God’s promised Messiah is spoken of as a door or gate by the ancient prophets; Messiah Jesus speaks of Himself as the door or gate in the Gospels as well. This doorway is not kept hidden from us, causing us to search high and low. It is clearly shown to us in the writings of Scripture, available to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The Gospel message that Jesus is the only door to the Father, and that all are welcome through this one door, are two halves of the same message from a righteous, loving Father who desires that all be reconciled to Him. May we willingly share this Good News with our neighbors as we daily rejoice in His mercy!
Wednesday, February 21
Read: John 10:1-10
Jesus clearly describes Himself as the gate and also as a shepherd. While shepherds in Jesus’ day sometimes lay across the opening to the sheep pen, becoming the gate themselves, even they must go through the gate to gather and lead the sheep. We are cautioned about those who enter the sheep pen without using the gate. The gate or door is the way to enter into the fold and into the fullness of life that can only be found in Jesus.
Reflect: Knowing that Jesus is the only door or gate, how can we be sure that we are listening only to those “shepherds” or leaders who are bringing us the authentic message of Jesus and the Gospel?
For the Family: When you go into your house, how do you get inside? Do you climb through the window? Probably not! Someone opens the door. How does Jesus do the same thing when He lets us into heaven?
Thursday, February 22
Read: Psalm 118:19-24
In the first 18 verses of this Psalm, the writer praises God for delivering him from his enemies. He asks that the temple gates, where only the righteous may enter, be opened wide so he can pass through. He will pass through as the victor because God won the victory for him through Jesus. With praise and thanks, the Psalmist declares that Jesus, the One who was rejected, is the cornerstone.
Memorize: “Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.” (v. 19)
Reflect: Through Jesus, the gate of righteousness, we may enter into the presence of the Lord even though we deserve none of His favor. How does this shape our own attitude and behavior toward God and toward our neighbor?
For the Family: Have you ever seen a commercial on TV or an ad in a magazine and thought, “I have to get that?” How is that similar to the Lord’s showing us the gate to heaven? Pray and thank the Lord for showing us the way to eternal life.
Friday, February 23
Read: Isaiah 53
Jesus’ suffering becomes the door to our salvation. He Himself carried our pain, our sin, our iniquities, and our suffering to make us whole. God laid on Him the punishment that we deserved and like a lamb led to the slaughter, He accepts the punishment that we deserve in silence.
Reflect: This depiction of our Suffering Servant as the lamb led to slaughter points us to Jesus and His suffering for our salvation. How does this affect the way we view the sin in our lives? How should it?
For the Family: With your family, look up the definition of gift. It says, “A thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.” Think about a time you received a gift. How was receiving that gift like God’s showing us His grace in Jesus and leading us to heaven? How was it different?
Saturday, February 24
Read: Luke 13:22-35
Jesus Himself is the narrow door, easy to reject. There will be many who think they deserve to enter into heaven but who will, instead, be left standing outside knocking on a locked door. It is only when we look to Jesus and know Him personally as our Savior that we will be allowed to pass through the narrow door. We cry out with others who enter through the narrow way, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Reflect: Jesus’ answer to the question, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” urges us to see Him and Him alone as the “narrow door.” He offers no other hope for those who wish to be saved. Can we ignore what He so clearly reveals? Thank God for providing for us the way of salvation.
For the Family: Did you know that you have to be a certain height to ride a roller coaster? People who are not tall enough are not allowed to ride. Jesus talks about a narrow gate. And much like riding the roller coaster, not everyone will be able to go through the gate. The gate Jesus references is the gate to heaven. Do we have to do good things or be a certain height to get through the gate into heaven? How do we get into heaven?
Sunday, February 25
Read: Ezekiel 34:1-23
The prophet Ezekiel is writing to those who served themselves instead of those whom they were entrusted to serve. In so doing, they themselves became false “doors” for God’s people. Christ, the only door to salvation, is the One who does all that the “shepherd” is to do because He loves and cares for His flock. He lived among the people, healed them, fed them with God’s truth, rescued them and led them back to safety when they strayed. He served God’s people, and He calls us to do the same.
Reflect: As Jesus is THE Good Shepherd, we are to “shepherd” (serve and care for) those around us, neglecting neither their physical nor spiritual needs, for both are commanded in Scripture. How can we become better shepherds, ensuring the well-being of those whom God has entrusted to our care? Think of something you can do today to care for another.
For the Family: When you try to do something you shouldn’t (like sneaking a cookie without asking), do your parents stop you? Does God ever stop you from doing something you shouldn’t? How does He guide you to do the right thing? Pray and ask God to help you make good decisions.
Monday, February 26
Read: Mark 11:15-19
Jesus rebuked those who would dishonor His Father’s house. He called it a den of thieves, a place where the poor and those who came to worship were oppressed by the abusive and corrupt practices of the temple leaders and merchants. In the “New Temple,” Jesus becomes the open “Door,” drawing all nations (including Gentile nations) to a house of prayer instead.
Reflect: Does our own worship ,or lack thereof, rob our Father of what is due Him? If so, how can we do better?
For the Family: Think about a favorite place you play. If someone came into that space and did something that kept you from playing there (like holding an exercise class), you wouldn’t like that very much, would you? That is what the merchants and some religious leaders did in Jesus’ temple. What did Jesus do to keep His temple a place of worship? How can we help to keep our church a place of worship?
Tuesday, February 27
Read: John 12:20-30
In his writing, John affirms that Jesus is the only door to salvation. Those who center their lives on themselves will “lose” their lives in eternity. Those who faithfully trust, follow and serve Jesus are walking in the narrow way. They will enter through the door or gate, Jesus Himself, which leads to eternal joy with Him. Those who honor Jesus with their lives will be honored by the Father.
Reflect: Jesus says, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” What can you do today to focus more fully on Jesus and thereby more effectively point others to Him? How can you follow Him more obediently in your daily walk?
For the Family: How does a door keep you safe in your house? Who are the people who keep you safe? How does God keep you safe? Pray and ask God to protect you.