I am the door - meaning of what Jesus said in John 10:9 (2023)

Jesus said “I am the door”. This statement is the same as “I am the gate”. It is one of the popular “I am statements” of Jesus in Scripture.

In saying this about Himself, Jesus was trying to tell us the way to eternal life and peace. But this statement is so rich.

It paints a picture of ancient life in Palestine that truly enlarges the meaning. Let’s explore.

I am the door Bible verse

What Bible verse says I am the door? This Scripture is found in John 10:9. There is no other passage with this verse

I am the door KJV

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

I am the door NKJV

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 meaning in context

Before we dissect John 10:9, first we have to get the background. There is a story context that we need to help us understand this Scripture portion.

Jesus was at the temple on a Sabbath teaching. As He is walking and teaching, Jesus sees a blind man and He heals him.

The legalistic Pharisees were not pleased that Jesus performed a miracle on the Sabbath.

They put this formerly blind man through an interrogation and then threw him out of the temple. He was no longer allowed to worship there.

They found His story of healing to be ridiculous because, according to them, nobody has ever been healed from blindness.

Jesus heard about what happened and went to find the man. Jesus comforted the man and assured him that once He believed in Jesus, he didn’t need to worry about worshiping in the temple.

Jesus then made a statement about the spiritual condition of the Pharisees, a statement which offended them greatly.

The point Jesus was trying to make was that He was not like the Pharisees. This is what the whole of chapter 10 is about.

In John 10, Jesus uses two separate analogies to paint a picture of who He is in contrast to the pious religious leaders.

In John 10:1-6, he uses the metaphors of a door and a shepherd to refer to himself.

Those listening to Him didn’t understand what He was saying so in the verses that follow, Jesus explains in explicit details exactly what He was saying about Himself.

In John 10: 7-10, Jesus calls himself the door.

In John 11-18, Jesus calls himself the shepherd.

In this post, we focus on John 10:7-9.

What is the meaning of John 10:9?

Now that we have the back story, let’s get into the meat of what Jesus meant.

I am the gate of the sheep meaning

For us to understand the meaning of “I am the gate”, we have to travel back in time and explore the practices around raising sheep as livestock.

Some of their practices were based on temperature and weather conditions. In Palestine, the shepherds knew each other.

During the cold months, the shepherds would take their flocks back to the village where there were very large sheepfolds. All the flocks from all the shepherds were led into it for shelter overnight.

This sheepfold had a single door and the key was held by one person, the gatekeeper. In the morning, each shepherd would come to collect their flock.

Since there was a single door, there was only one way in and one way out. Plus, because multiple flocks were mixed together, each shepherd had to have a unique call for his flock. They each had to call their sheep to file out through this single door.

Notice, Jesus didn’t say “I am a door”. He said “I am the door”.

The door symbolizes Jesus, the one and only way to eternal life and God’s kingdom.

Why did Jesus say I am the gate?

Jesus goes on to explain:

If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 ESV

In verse 8, Jesus talks about thieves and robbers who try to get into the fold. He was referring to the religious leaders who used trickery, deception, and lies to try to lead the people of God astray.

These leaders had different ideas about how to gain access to salvation. And these ideas did not include Jesus.

What does the gate symbolize in the Bible?

Don’t forget who Jesus is talking to. He’s addressing a crowd in which there were Pharisees who did not believe Jesus was (and is) God.

He is letting them know explicitly that He, Jesus, is the door to salvation and ultimately to heaven.

Earlier I said there were many ideas about the road to salvation. The Pharisees and the religious leaders taught these lies.

Let’s look at one example briefly.

In the story of the rich young ruler, the young man asked Jesus, “what must I do to be saved?”

I highlighted the word do because there was a belief that doing the right things could get you into heaven.

As a Jew, the rich young ruler was taught that he needed to keep all 10 commandments plus all the over 600 laws of Moses. He was also taught that his money could get him into heaven and that the poor had no chance of being saved.

He grew up believing that these were the secrets to eternal life.

While it is true that God expects us to do good works and pursue an abundant life, the reality is that not even good works or financial success can make us earn salvation.

We can never do enough good works to make us qualified for salvation.

Salvation is God’s free gift to us. Although it cost us nothing, it cost Jesus everything.

And because it cost Him everything, we get salvation through Him. That’s why He is the door.

Salvation does not come through our behavior. Salvation comes through a single person – Jesus.

We don’t have to do anything to be saved. We do good works because we are saved through Jesus.

And we are saved when we accept the truth that Jesus is the door. This is something we have to choose each day we wake up.

In John 10:9, Jesus uses the word saved to describe those who accept Him.

What does this mean?

JOhn 10:9 Meaning of “he will be saved”

The Greek word for saved used here is sozo. It means to rescue someone from danger. This word has a variety of applications in Scripture.

But, in the context of John 10:9, the rescue is a spiritual one. Sozo is referring to being rescued from the danger of sin and eternal death. This is what we call salvation.

Jesus was stating explicitly that if people want eternal life, He was the door.

Then, Jesus goes on to say that those who experience sozo, those who receive salvation “will go in and out and find pasture”.

This statement is heavy with meaning. Let’s dig into it.

JOhn 10:9 Meaning of “will go in and out and find pasture”

To “go in and out” was a Jewish phrase that had to do with daily living. Sometimes it was used to describe sheep as they entered and exited the sheepfold.

More specifically, the phrase referred to feeling safe, free, secure, at peace. The one who goes “in and out” experiences no anxiety in their daily life both when they stay at home and go out to work.

As Jesus is explaining that He is the door to eternal life, He also tells them that He is also the door to a life of peace.

Because those who accept Jesus, get to benefit from their relationship right now, right here on earth even as they look to the future for bigger and better things.

John 10:9 meaning – Lessons and takeaways

Examine how you truly seek salvation

Don’t take it for granted that because you profess Christ you are seeking salvation the way Jesus says it.

Let me explain.

Some people grew up feeling like they had to do stuff to earn the love of their parents.

Others have been made to feel like they had to be perfect to get the love and affirmation of the ones who mattered to them.

Some of us grew up in churches that emphasized keeping the commandments with utter perfection to the very letter.

Whether we realize it or not, these things carry over into our relationship with God. It has set us up to believe that we must work to earn our salvation.

In other words, we must work at perfecting ourselves to become worthy of God’s grace and goodness.

This is a big, fat lie that the enemy is using to stall the kingdom of God.

As I said before, there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Yet, so many Christians walk around feeling burdened and unsure of their salvation because they have a “salvation by works” mentality.

What does this kind of mentality look like in everyday life?

It looks like the woman or man who is so active at church or ministry that they spend very little time with family and no time taking care of themselves.

It looks like that church member who can’t wait for you to slip up to show you which commandments you have broken while they act like they have never made mistakes in their lives.

It looks like the person who would never admit to being wrong about anything because they are such perfect Christians.

It looks like that person on the church board who wants to control every decision and will lash out if they don’t get their way because they are convinced they are the pillar of the church and the church can neither exist or function without them.

It looks like the Christian entrepreneur who gives away money and supports this cause or that initiative because, deep down, they are trying to make up for some horrible thing they did in their past or because they think this is what will get them into heaven.

It looks like the guilt you carry about your sins, a guilt that rides you without relief, keeps you awake at night and haunts you constantly.

I’m certain other examples are popping into your head.

In these cases, Jesus isn’t the door that is leading to a life of peace. Something else has taken the place of Jesus.

Quite often, we are trying to take His place in our lives. We do this while Jesus says

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Let go my friend, and allow Jesus to be your Savior.

God’s got you!

How to truly make Jesus your door

In John 10:9, Jesus says HE is the door to peace in this life and eternal life.

At a time when all kinds of productivity hacks are flying around on the internet, please know that no matter how much you master your schedule, it doesn’t mean much towards your soul salvation.

We could do with a major shift in our mindset by going back to basic Bible truth.

The basic truth is in this: Do you believe in Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you have peace in your Christian walk?

Everything else in your life should flow from the answer to these questions instead the other way around.

Spend some time reflecting on the way you are living.

Are you seeking to feel saved because of all you are doing? Or do you know you are saved because you are falling in love with Jesus everyday and growing your relationship with Him in meaningful ways?

You know Jesus is your door when you have peace about the fact that your salvation has nothing to do with you and everything to do with Jesus.

And everything you do for God is not so that you can be saved but because you know you are saved.

So, you don’t help out at the pantry or soup kitchen to get salvation. You do it because you are already saved and you want others to know the love of Jesus that you have in your heart.

You don’t take up office at church in order to feel saved. You do it because you have a relationship with God that makes you want to serve Him with your whole heart.

You don’t give away money and support various causes because you are wanting to feel good about fulfilling your Christian duty. You do it because you know what Jesus has done for you and you are overflowing with gratitude and love for His saving grace.

You also know that if life happens and you cannot be physically active in ministry, God isn’t standing by waiting to withdraw His saving grace from you.

Because what matters most to God is the relationship He has with you.

So it means therefore that as you live your life, worship comes before work. Mary comes before Martha.

You connect with your Savior before you serve because He is the door to eternal peace, in this life and the life to come.

Final words on I am the door

Jesus gave up heaven and came to earth to accomplish one goal: to get us to believe again. The enemy knows that if he can redirect our beliefs, he can derail our entire lives.

As you examine your heart, truly ask God to show where in your life you are not believing Him. I pray that Jesus is your door all the way through and through.

And I pray for you the peace that comes with walking through the Door.

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