Open or Shut?
Written By: Chris Mace
Beyond the fence in the photo lies a magnificent but obscured view of Frenchman’s bay, its islands, boats, and mountains. That wonder can only be accessed through the now closed gate, and we are not invited in.
Jesus used a gate as a metaphor in a rather surprising, even shocking parable about some good but misguided people who faced an unexpected closed gate: ” Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me…”(Luke 13:24-27 )
These upstanding, well intention people were refused entrance into God’s Kingdom. Although they had not overtly rejected Christ, they had never personally heeded or embraced him. They had some familiarity with him, had heard about his teaching, but had not taken time to know him or “hear” him when he taught that he was the gate to redemption: “I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.”(John 10:9) They had ignored his invitation and had never grasped the truth that they needed Christ’s righteousness and God’s mercy and grace to enter His kingdom. Instead they had relied on their own abilities, good deeds, ideas, and self righteousness. They were “striving” but not by in faith.
The Apostle John portrayed Christ as standing and knocking at the door of our hearts, ready to enter our lives if we choose to allow him access. (Rev 3:20). Whether he is rejected or ignored, the result is the same. He does not force entry but enters upon invitation. Like Jerusalem’s ancient gates which the Psalmist adjured to allow the King of Glory to come in (Psalm 24:7), when we open our lives to Christ, the King of Glory will come in.
Those parables and illustrations are worth consideration. They indicate the importance of hearing Christ out and that his presence not only grants freedom to our spirits and guides us beyond our weaknesses and brokenness to forgiveness and healing but also assures us that one day a gate will open into a kingdom wonderful beyond imagination.