The Door – Dave Rodriguez
Doors function in two ways:
· protection from unwanted things
o weather of course – like this time of year (winter this weekend)
o animals – like my neighbor’s dog
o insects - like the biblical scale plague of spiders we get every summer
o nosy people – when you want to have some privacy
o bad people – which is why cockpit doors and bank vaults have impregnable doors.
· portal to another world – when you walk through it you enter a whole different atmosphere
o the door between the mean old world and your safe and secure home
o the door between the loud hallway and your quiet office
o the door (so to speak) into the Magic world of Disney where apparently Dreams come true
o the awe inspiring doorway Penny and I got to stand in as we peered into the Oval Office of the West Wing of the Whitehouse.
Doors can be the portal to a whole other world.
Both of these functions are what Jesus had in mind when he said…I am the door.
Context: John records what appears to be yet another tense interchange between Jesus and some Pharisees…he launches into an allegory about sheep and sheep pens and shepherds thieves and robbers
1 "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
a little bit later he says…
11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Last year Tim talked about this name of Jesus – the good shepherd – In essence Jesus is contrasting himself with the Pharisees – I’m the shepherd people listen to…you are all human thieves.
And it’s in this context that Jesus gives himself another name:
7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:7-10
What does he mean…I am the door? I would suggest he is referring to the two functions of a door:
1) protection from unwanted things
I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved.
Which of course makes sense for sheep. the door of the sheep pen protects sheep from predators…animal or human.
But what does he mean in this allegory about him and us? What unwanted things does Jesus protect humans from?
Ø the judgment of God – sins can be forgiven and eternity with God certain
o moral idiocy
When we determine to follow Jesus we become new creatures we are transformed and the potential exists of complete change of life.
Ø the evil one – we are not the only alive things in this world…among us in the unseen world are spirit beings that are bent on our destruction. Behind the door of Jesus we have the authority to stand against them all.
Jesus is the door.
…as the door he also functions as…
2) a portal to another world
What other world?
Ø Jesus is the entrée to a full and abundant life (10:10)
Ø Jesus is the entrée to heaven
Ø Jesus is the entrée to wisdom – The mind of Christ
Ø Jesus is the entrée to contentment – I can do all things through Christ
o this is how Kara Tippets navigates cancer
o this is how Todd Erb and his family have made it this past year following the brutal deaths of his wife and daughter
Ø Jesus is the entrée to a new family – with God as Father and a whole community of brothers and sisters
Jesus is the door.
So, how do you walk through it…to safety or to life?
You surrender your mind, your heart and your will to him. You can’t just believe in the door…you have to walk through it.
And today is the day you should.
Living Water – Tim Ayers
There is an old blues song that has this famous line: ‘You don’t miss your water ‘till your well runs dry.’ And boy do I know that is true! Jennifer and I have a well at our home and a couple of weeks ago, while Jennifer was out of town, I woke up to nothing in the system at all. I called our well people to see if they could come and check things, but it happened to be the one day of the year that many well-drilling people go to Purdue to get the training that keeps their state certification up to date… meaning no one could come out and see what was wrong with our well for at least a full day or maybe more. So, I missed my water, as the song says, for a while. Now, don’t feel sorry for me… I was fine… but it did make me aware, in a very limited way of course, what life is like for the huge percentage of the world that doesn’t have access to a reliable source of clean water. Water truly is one of the most valuable commodities on earth; it is precious… it has always been and it always will be precious. Water is so precious that over the centuries it has been a major factor in where many of the great civilizations developed, wars have been fought over it, and it was, and actually still is, worshiped by some cultures. Now, the Jews of the first Century, the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth, didn’t worship water, but there certainly was a very close connection between water and Jewish spiritual life. Water played a big role in many of the major Old Testament stories: the creation story starts with water; there is a lot of water in the story of Noah; there is the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea and the River Jordan, just to name a few water stories. Water was also a very important part of the cleanliness laws that the Jews had to follow and there were a ton of cleansing rules that covered everything from female cleansing following the birth of a baby to the way bodies were prepared for burial. Truth is, water was integral part of almost every aspect of Jewish life. But Jews didn’t use just any water. No, they believed there were two kinds of water in the world. First, there was still water: water you’d find in a cistern, a pond, a puddle or stagnant pool… in other words, water that wasn’t moving; this water wasn’t special in any way to the Jews. It was simply water. But then there was moving water: water from a river, a stream, a spring or a well with an underground source… even rain water as it was falling… and the name the Jews gave to this kind of moving water was ‘living water.’ Living water was thought to have life in it… they believed it contained innate powers that made it able to wash away spiritual uncleanliness and, in the case of baptism, give people a new beginning in life. The rabbis had long mandated that the only kind of water that could be used for any sort of spiritual purpose had to be living water… because this kind of water mysteriously held the power of life. And this was a given throughout the whole of the Jewish world during the time that Jesus was preaching in Galilee and Judea. Now, I mentioned a moment ago how water played a big role in many of the stories of the Old Testament… well, that special role, particularly for ‘living water,’ continued on into the New Testament. And you can really see this in the Gospel of John. In fact, when you make a list of the major events in Jesus’ ministry that are recorded in John’s Gospel, you’ll find that more than half of what happens has some connection to living water. Check out this list: John’s gospel starts with John the Baptist baptizing in the River Jordan which of course is a body of moving, thus, living water… Then Jesus turns water into wine… water that was stored in large ceremonial cleansing jars, thus large containers of living water. Next, Jesus meets with Nicodemus, a Pharisee that came during the night to talk to Jesus and was told by Jesus that to find real life he needed to be born again both of water and the spirit. Next, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well; he then heals a crippled man who had been sitting by a pool of water hoping for a healing miracle for thirty eight years. Then Jesus walks on water, he heals a blind man by having him wash his eyes in the Pool of Siloam, he humbly washes his disciple’s feet and finally after his resurrection causes a miraculous catch of fish in the Sea of Galilee. That’s quite a water list.
And after thinking about all of this for a while I came to the realization there is one moment in Jesus’ ministry that ties all of these water events together: it is Jesus’ time with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus and his disciples had been walking all morning in very hot weather. Jesus was tired and he’d stopped for a rest at a well called Jacob’s well, a spring-fed well that was thought to have been dug thousands of years earlier by the Jewish patriarch, Jacob. And while there a Samaritan woman came to the well alone to get water. Samaritans and Jews had nothing to do with one another in those days and women only came to wells alone if they were for some reason social outcasts. John tell us this in chapter 4 verse 6 (page 752 in the house bible if you want to follow along). It was about noon when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans). Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Now, the story goes on and I recommend everyone read it to its conclusion sometime on your own, but did you notice… Jesus offered her water that would quell all of her thirst forever. Obviously, he wasn’t talking about her physical thirst but her spiritual thirst. Jacob’s well contained spring fed water, water considered living but it wasn’t ‘living’ like the water Jesus was now offering. And I believe if we look back at that list of the water moments I listed earlier, we can piece together all that Jesus was actually offering her. I want to give you a new list; a list of what we learn from those water moments: from John the Baptist we learn that Jesus is the Messiah sent from God and that Jesus is greater than anyone; from Jesus changing water to wine and walking on the water we learn that he has power over the created world unlike anyone has ever had. From Nicodemus we learn that we are offered a chance to be reborn… to start a new life; from his healings we realize that Jesus offers us physical, emotional and spiritual healing; and in Jesus’ moments of washing his disciple’s feet and providing them with a miraculous catch of fish we see his unimaginable love for his own and his longing to have an intimate relationship with us. When Jesus offered the woman at the well his ‘living water’ he was offering her spiritual rebirth, total healing of body, mind and soul, an intimate relationship characterized by unfathomable love and care from the hand of the one who is in total control of the universe. This is the living water that flows out of Jesus… and it certainly sounds to me like something that will quench all that our souls could ever thirsts for. This is the precious living water that flows out of Jesus like ‘a spring of life,’ he says… And if we drink of it… if we take it in, if we surrender our lives to Jesus, he says we will never thirst again… and that this very same water will flow out of us as well… bringing life to those around us. Jesus never says he is living water but what else, or should I say, who else can offer us water that holds the power of eternal life? Only Jesus can offer this. He calls it living water but what he is really offering you is himself… offering you a long, satisfying taste of the only thing that can fulfill all of the thirsty needs of your heart and soul. If you are thirsty… come to Jesus… because Jesus is the living water and there is no other name.
Teacher Come from God – David Bell
Last fall our boys began attending The Oaks Academy, a Christian classical school at 23rd and College. Our experience as parents and our boys’ experience has been nothing short of a wonderful gift from God.
A primary reason for it being such a blessing is that one of the core values of the school is a commitment that every student will be known and loved. It is the commitment of every teacher – to know each of their students in the uniqueness of who they are, love them for who they are, and challenge them to become even more of who God has created them to be.
The evidence of this commitment to being known and loved begins with the ability not only of the teachers, but of the school’s leadership to greet students by name each morning. To hear the Head of School or one of the other school’s leaders greet child after child – from pre-K to 8th grade – by name morning after morning as they entered the one front doors of the building was one of my first clues that this value was an authentic commitment.
Known and loved by name. Challenged to become more and more of who God has created and called them to be.
When I think of the teachers who touched my life, each one stands out in my mind because they lived out precisely this same commitment.
I was known and loved by name by Mrs. Corsette, my first grade teacher. I was known and loved by name by Mr. Fedele, my MS band teacher who instilled in me a love for music. I was known and loved by name – and challenged to become more of who God was calling me to be by Mr. Turner, my high school Bible and Music teacher.
Known and loved by name. Challenged to become more and more of who God had created me to be and was calling me to be.
Think back to your teachers. Who stands out to you as having such an impact on you? Was it because they had the same commitment?
Teachers play an integral role in our lives – in who we can and will become. Other than parents, teachers can play arguably one of the most significant roles in the life of a person by knowing and loving them for who they are.
When teachers serve their students with this commitment to know and love them by name – for who they are – and with this commitment to help them become all that God wants them to be, they mimic the Master Teacher, the Good Teacher Come from God: Jesus.
Teacher Come from God
“Teacher” is one of the most common names of reference for Jesus in the gospels.
Over and over in the gospel stories, the Pharisees and teachers of the law called Jesus “Teacher.” They also at times used the Hebrew title for teacher, “Rabbi.” Both are titles are explicitly stated at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry by one inquisitive Pharisee in particular.
In a night meeting, Nicodemus went to Jesus to learn more about him because he was genuinely wondering if indeed Jesus might be the actual long-awaited Messiah. He greets Jesus saying:
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
But it wasn’t just the Jewish leaders. Others outside of the religious sphere saw Jesus as a teacher. In the latter part of Jesus’ ministry, a rich ruler comes to Jesus saying:
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
To this Jesus inquired, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God.”
The implication? The rich ruler was right, as Nicodemus had been right. Jesus was covertly affirming that indeed he was the good teacher because he had come from God.
And he didn’t just imply this name. He explicitly acknowledged that he was a teacher when addressing his disciples:
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.”
The disciples too used the name “Teacher” to address Jesus. They saw Jesus as their Rabbi – the one from whom they would learn about God and how to follow in the ways of God. Both those disciples who Jesus invited to follow him as Teacher and Lord AND those who chose to follow as they got to know Jesus considered him their Rabbi - their Teacher.
Jesus was, indeed, the Teacher Come from God.
And as this (Good) Teacher Come from God – this Master Teacher, Jesus was committed to his “students” – his disciples – to know and love them by name and to challenge them to be all that God had created them and called them to be.
The LATTER we see implicitly in the fact that Jesus was willing to take on this position as Teacher-Rabbi. You see, Rabbis had followers who they believed could become like them – could develop and grow to be like the Rabbi. To EITHER be called to follow a Rabbi OR taken in as a student of the Rabbi, the Rabbi had to believe that the student could become like them. It was their expectation that this would happen. That’s why they had the followers.
Jesus functioned as just such a rabbi. He expresses this expectation of followers in Luke 6 when he says,
“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
…and again in John, when after washing the disciples feet in the Upper Room, he says,
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Jesus was the teacher who, like every good teacher, challenged his students – his followers – to become more than they might have even expected they could be. He called them to something bigger than themselves.
There’s no question in my mind that this expectation of Jesus for his followers became reality as we watch the stories unfold in both the Gospels and Acts as his disciples…
…did what Jesus did…
…taught as Jesus taught
…served as Jesus served,
…and loved in the way Jesus loved.
But as the (Good) Teacher Come from God – this Master Teacher, NOT ONLY was Jesus was committed to his “students” – his disciples – to challenge them to be all that God had called them to be – to become like him, the Teacher, HE ALSO was committed to know and love them by name.
This is so beautifully portrayed in the garden after Jesus had resurrected.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Rabboni! Not just Rabbi… Teacher, but Rabboni, known to be the name that expresses familiarity and devotion of the one to their teacher.
He knew her name, and in that moment of speaking it – when she was known and loved in the VOICING of her name - her eyes were opened and she saw her Teacher - to whom she had devoted her life to follow -in all of His glory!
What strikes my heart so deeply is knowing that this same Teacher, Jesus, is the Good Teacher Come from God to us – in the same ways, with the same commitment.
Do you realize that Jesus knows your name?
That He knows you just as you are and loves you just as you are?
He is committed to you just because you are you. As the Teacher of teachers, he is committed to knowing and loving you.
Do you understand that Jesus looks at you as He did Mary in the garden and tenderly loves you in the VOICING of your name: “Lynn… Eric… Brian… Jordan… Jane… Daniel… John… Suzanna…”?
Knowing and loving you in the VOICING of your name that you may know and love and be devoted to Him in return – your Rabboni, your Teacher.
And do you see that He knows you and loves you enough to know not to leave you as you are?
When Jesus calls you to follow Him through surrender and trust of your life to Him, He – as the Good Teacher Come from God – (He) is saying to you:
“You can be like me! You can do what I do – even greater things actually. You can teach what I have taught to you. You can serve as I have served. You can love as I love to this day!”
He is calling you to become the masterpiece that God has created you to be.
Jesus, the Good Teacher Come from God, knows and loves you by name and challenges you to become ALL THAT God has created you and called you to be.
Jesus is the Teacher Come from God and there is no other name.