Have you had the honor, the privilege, the blessing of being present when a lost sheep is found? When the enormity of salvation sweeps over a soul the joy is electric, and your spirit rejoices along with the angels in heaven. Oh, how glorious an occasion it truly is! I wanted to bust out noise makers, balloons, bake a cake, dance, whatever, when a dear loved one recently received the free gift of eternal salvation! We certainly prayed and worshipped! And cried tears of joy!
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened...” Matt.7:7-8
The process was a joy, a nail biting one to be sure. I waited as through the course of time he knocked, and knocked: reading the Word, attending church services and Bible studies, asking questions, reading Christian books and growing closer day-by-day. In my heart I had a peace because I know my Lord is ever truthful and ever faithful. He will never close the door to someone who is truly seeking. Never. It was a matter of time, not my time, but the Father’s.
When I plant a garden the germination process seems the longest - watering, feeding, waiting... tick-tock.. water some more, wait some more, and then eventually a sprout appears. A beautiful little sprout that holds the promise of growth and life. And a delicious harvest. Recently I planted an indoor garden with my very excited grand daughters and the first seedling has just sprouted. Now I’m the one excited to show them the new life springing forth. And so it is when we sow seeds of salvation through the good shepherd Jesus, but the length of the germination process until new life is sprouted is unknown to us. But He knows and we can rest in that truth. The time spent patiently praying and keeping hope alive through the Word is a wise investment. I have prayed for some loved ones for over thirty years and have learned to never give up hope, for today may be the day they walk through the door, the door that is Jesus.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10: 9
Jesus tells us that He is the door. The door. Not a door, but the door of the sheep. The door of salvation. He is the only way to reconciliation with God. And His promise is that we, his beloved sheep, will be saved from eternal separation from Him. Additionally, He will lead us to green pastures. The metaphor is heartwarmingly beautiful as I envision the serenity of sheep grazing on a rolling hill enveloped in green pastures. The symbolism vividly portrays a life of provision and peace. The abundant life! Am I blind to the pain, the suffering, the trials this world brings? No. But through it, our Shepherd walks with us, never forsaking or abandoning the sheep of His flock. He protects us when we wander, when we’re sick, when trials come, and when evil pervades. We’re wise to stay close to His side, abiding in Him and following His lead.
The Lord demonstrated His protection of His people when he closed Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives in the ark by shutting the door for them. This door was used to separate His people from the destruction that surrounded them. Many generations later, the Lord once again demonstrated His protection to His people while they were enslaved in Egypt by providing a door of protection, a foreshadowing of the Messiah to come.
For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. Ex.12:23
Jump forward a few thousand years, and we have another door, one which could not hold our Lord back - it was the stone covering the tomb. The victory over death was demonstrated as Jesus walked triumphantly through this door just as planned.
And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. Matt.28:2
Jesus is the door. When we hear His voice and enter in to the green pastures it’s glorious. But what happens when we wander? When we choose to abandon the green pastures and graze on dried weeds? The weeds of deception, the weeds of compromise, and the weeds that lead to destruction are an ever present danger. Like sheep we go astray. What then? Will we ever find our way back to the green pastures? Does our Shepherd beat us with his staff and abandon us? Does He disown His sheep? Never! Whatever the sin that has gripped and entangled, our Jesus’ blood has covered it, casting it as far as the east is from the west - gone! He gently wipes the tears of repentance, draws us up into His strong arms, and tells us,
“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11
We have so much more to learn of our beloved Shepherd, the good Shepherd in John 10 this week. I’m looking forward to the time with all of you with great joy! Shalom!