So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 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 ESV)
When Jesus referred to himself as the door he drew his comparison from the image of a door to a sheepfold. Many of the sheepfolds of Jesus’ day were stone enclosures with thorns and briars placed on the top of the walls. They had an open court where the sheep could sleep. The folds were built to offer protection from thieves and wolves or other predatory animals.
Some of the more permanent folds were built with interior rooms where the sheep would stay during bad weather. When a shepherd was far from home a fold was built using tangled thorn bushes. Sometimes the folds were built at the base of tall cliff to ensure safety. At other times they were built at the opening of a cave so the sheep could enter the cave in case of bad weather. All of the different types of sheepfolds had only one door.
By claiming to be the door of the sheepfold Jesus was saying that he is the only way to get in the sheepfold. He would later tell his disciples, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) As Peter preached, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Paul echoed that by saying, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 ESV)
If fact, Paul was so adamant about faith in Jesus being the only way to salvation that he wrote to the Galatians, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8 ESV) Jesus said that all the ones that came before him, that taught another way to the Father, were thieves and robbers. It seems that Paul was saying all those that come after Jesus who say there is another door is guilty of being the same.
Jesus is still the only door. And even today he lets those who believe come through him to the Father. While on earth he said, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16 ESV) He later prayed, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21 ESV) I believe Jesus is referring to all the sheep who would believe on him after he ascended to the Father. Jesus has sheep that have not yet believed and he is gathering them. He calls and they hear his voice and walk through the door.
Only those who go through the door of the sheepfold receive the benefits of the sheepfold; refuge during inclement weather (storms) and protection from wolves (in sheep’s clothing), thieves and robbers attempting to kill, steal and destroy. The door is Jesus. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
That’s why we praise him!