In the book of John, Jesus makes the statement I AM 20 times. 7 times, however, Jesus follows up the statement with a metaphor that gives us a glimpse into who Jesus is. John 10:9 is the third of those 7 statements.
Here Jesus is talking about sheep, shepherds, and sheepfolds. A sheepfold was generally a circle stone wall with an opening at one point for the sheep to get in and out. This wall would have been tall enough that when the sheep were inside they wouldn't be able to be seen from the other side of the wall where the predators would be lurking wanting to kill and eat the sheep. It was common for the shepherd while the sheep were in the sheepfold to stand, sit, or recline in the opening known as a door.
Jesus says, anyone that enters the sheepfold anyway other than through the door is a thief and a robber, but the one that enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The shepherd calls the sheep by name and they follow him because they know his voice and they won't follow the voice of a stranger. Verse six says that the crowd He's talking to doesn't understand what He's talking about (Big surprise there) so He has to break it down for them.
Jesus is the door of the sheepfold and everyone who came before Him was a thief and a robber, but the sheep didn't hear them. Then the amplified bible puts verse nine as Jesus saying, "I am the Door; anyone who enters through me will be saved and will live forever, and will go in and out freely, and find spiritual security." This phrase, "go in and out" was a common Jewish phrase of the day. It was how they described a life that is absolutely secure and safe. When a man could go in and out without fear it meant that his country was at peace, that the forces of law and order were supreme, and that he enjoyed perfect security for his life.
This is what Jesus is talking about here for your spiritual life. Remember Jesus is almost exclusively focused on the spiritual side of things when He teaches. From time to time He teaches about physical matters, but that's rare. Jesus is saying that when we enter through Him we can live a spiritual life free of fear of molestation from the enemy safe and secure. The question that remains is what is Jesus saying that we're entering through Him into exactly. We'll the sheepfold in this analogy would be the Kingdom of God. In John chapter 3 verse 3 Jesus says, "Except a man be born again He cannot see the kingdom of God." and in John chapter 14 verse 6 Jesus says that no man comes to the Father, but by Him.
It's all nice and good to talk about the kingdom of God and entering into it through Christ, but how does that translate to our daily lives today? We see this same concept of entering through Christ into something bigger together talked about in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 13. Here Paul says, "For by one Spirit we were all transformed, united together, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit since the same Holy Spirit fills each life."
Paul expands on this teaching in Ephesians chapter 2, "For [Christ] is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made us into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall, by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make us into one new man, thereby establishing peace. That He might reconcile both Jew and Gentile, united in one body to God through the cross. He came and preached the good news of peace to you [Gentiles] who were far away, and peace to those [Jews] who were near. For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and outsiders without rights of citizenship, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and are [members] of God’s household"
Jesus is the door through which we believers pass through to join into one faith, one body, God's household, one Church (Capital C) belonging to him. Not one church down the road here, and one church down the road there. No, the whole Church, all of those congregations put together, one body of Christ. That shouldn't be competing with each-other, but working together to minister to each-other and to reach out to the lost with the Gospel and love. The closest analogy we have to what Jesus is talking about here in the sheepfold in a modern society is family. Not necessarily the family you were born to, but the family that you've chosen for yourself that is closer to you than your blood kin. The urban dictionary (Not a tool I highly recommend, but it's good for a laugh from time to time and it does get somethings right) it defines family as, "A group of people, usually of the same blood (but do not have to be), who genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other. Not to be mistaken with relatives sharing the same household who hate each-other. REAL family is a bondage that cannot be broken by any means."
When we step through that door that is Christ we are entering into a group that is supposed to genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other. I've found this to be true in many Christian circles that I've encountered, but, unfortunately, I've also experienced the opposite too. Whether we're a new Christian or a seasoned veteran, let's not forget to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with genuine love, trust, and care, and remember look out for each other. We are in a REAL family that is a bondage that cannot be broken by any means.
Until next time...