Rev. Langerak is pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

When Jesus said, “I am the door,” He invoked a rich covenantal metaphor. In general it refers to any opening that can be closed or shut. Thus, Job spoke of the doors of a womb, seas, leviathan, and death. There are doors of hope, lips, and mouth (Hos. 2:15Ps. 141:3Mic. 7:5). But, most importantly, doors open to habitations. Every home has its door. City walls have doors. And God’s house has its doors. The one on the tabernacle was colorful embroidered cloth, those in Solomon’s temple were ornate gold-covered olive, and the temple of Jesus’ day had a door called Beautiful (Ex. 26:36I Kings 6:32Acts 3:10). Then there are the everlasting doors of heaven that opened for the ascended King of glory, and from which all blessings flow (Ps. 24:7Ps. 78:23).

Doors provide entrance into fellowship. There the lover meets his beloved (Song 5:4). Therefore, at God’s door the women of Israel assembled, the priests ate their food, and His people pleaded for justice and gathered at the sound of the trumpet (Ex. 38:8Ex. 29:32Num. 27:2;Num. 10:1-3). There, God stayed His anger, divided the inheritance, and spoke to Israel (Num. 16:50Jos. 19:51Lev. 8:3). Doors have been the site of many gospel tidings. Wisdom cries at the doors of her house, and blessed is the man that hears (Prov. 8:3). In a tent door, Jehovah appeared to Abraham, and Sarah heard the promise of a son (Gen. 18:1ff.). In her door, a believing Shunammite was told she would have a son, and behind it he was raised from the dead (II Kings 4:8-37). For cleansing, Naaman met Elisha at his door (II Kings 5:9). And many times at a door Jesus Himself healed, cast out devils, and preached (Mark 1:33Mark 2:2).

But doors have also been the site of bad news and shameful deeds. Before the closed door of the King, the foolish are told, “I know you not” (Matt. 25:10Luke 13:25). By the tabernacle door, Israel wept, complained, rebelled, and Eli’s sons lay with Israel’s women (Num. 11:10Num. 16:19I Sam. 2:22). Behind their doors, Israel fornicated with the nations (Is. 57:8). At the door of a hospitable old man, a Levite’s concubine was killed by Israelite thugs (Jud. 19:1ff.). At the doors of Gath, David scrabbled like a madman, and while faithful Uriah slept at his palace door, David plotted his murder (I Sam. 21:13II Sam. 11:9).

Doors represent the guilt or blessedness of a household. When Cain murdered Abel, the sin lay at his door (Gen. 4:7). But by splashing the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts, the believing Israelite’s family was protected from the avenging angel (Ex. 12:7). At the family door, slaves were freed (Ex. 21:6). At the tabernacle door, the sinner was cleansed (Lev. 4:1ff.), priests were consecrated (Ex. 29:4), and a Nazarite was separated unto God (Num. 6:18). And because of its proximity to the altar of burnt offerings, sacrifices laid upon that altar were said to be brought “to the door of the tabernacle” where God dwelt (Ex. 29:11Lev. 1:3).

Doors can provide safety and refuge—for the wicked, a false sense of security. Thinking themselves safe behind closed doors, Eglon was slain by Ehud (Jud. 3:23) and Sisera by Jael (Jud. 4:18). To expose the weakness of the Philistines, Samson simply carried away their doors (Jud. 16:3). To provide safety, doors must have keepers. God must be that keeper. Behind a single door, He saved Noah and seven souls from a world’s destruction (Gen. 6:16), protected Lot from the Sodomites (Gen. 19:1ff.), and kept Rahab and her family safe from the devastation of Jericho (Josh. 2:19). And so, covenant fathers must keep their family door by writing God’s law on its posts (Deut. 11:20), and elders must keep the kingdom door by the diligent use of its keys (Matt. 16:19).

Jesus is THE door—the great and effectual door (I Cor. 16:9), the only entrance into the kingdom, city, and family of God (John 10:7). He opens a way for the Gentiles (Act 14:27). He keeps the door of death and hell (Rev. 1:18), and is master of the household door (Luke 13:25). With the key of David, He opens and no man shuts, shuts and no man opens (Rev. 3:7). A door of stone could not keep Him in the tomb (Matt. 27:60). Locked doors cannot prevent His fellowship (John 20:19-26), or hold His own in prison (Acts 5:16;Acts 16:26). He is near, even at the door (Mark 13:29James 5:9). And He promises: “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9).