Jesus at the door

Jesus knows us better than anybody. He speaks our language. He talks to us about things that nobody else cares about. He listens.

And he does all this because he loves us.

This was something I learned again and again while doing research for my book, Letters from Jesus. The letters from Jesus to the seven churches are full of idioms and local references that mean nothing to us. But they meant much to the people who heard them. Consider this well-known verse:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

This is Jesus speaking to the smug Laodiceans, and it is one of the most radical pictures of grace you will ever find. In my book it takes a whole chapter to unpack the grace found in this letter, but let me give you a taste by unpacking these few words: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” The following is extracted from my book…

Who’s knocking on the door?

No Roman.

Under Roman law, visiting officials had the power to requisition lodgings for themselves and their entourage. Even though it was an imposition to host, feed, and even pay hungry soldiers, nobody could shut their door. But the Laodiceans weren’t nobody. They were a proud people who, in 40BC, closed their doors to a Roman general called Labienus Parthicus.

On another occasion, a wealthy Laodicean called Polemo came home to find the future emperor Antoninus had billeted himself in his house. An angry Polemo kicked him out. His actions captured the independent Laodicean spirit. “Other, weaker Asian cities may roll out the welcome mat to the Roman oppressors, but we Laodiceans are having none of it.”

The Laodiceans were famous for their locked and closed doors, and this is one of their more appealing traits. Shutting one’s door to a hostile invader is admirable.

But Jesus is no Roman oppressor. Although he is the Ruler of All, he does not impose himself upon us. He does not demand that we open our doors and slay the fatted calf for his benefit. Instead, he gently asks us to open our door so that he may come in and dine with us.

Grace for Laodiceans

In the Gospels, Jesus promises that if we knock the door will be opened (Matt. 7:7). But the Laodiceans aren’t knocking. They’re not the sort of people who do.

“We have need of nothing,” they boasted. They won’t come to Jesus, so the Ruler of Creation comes to them. It is a stunning act of condescension.

The Laodiceans’ religion is offensive, yet Jesus is not offended. Their self-righteousness stinks to high heaven, yet Jesus does not withdraw in a holy huff. Nor does he call down fire from above. Instead, he speaks tenderly with lovingkindness.

Those unacquainted with the grace of God make much of the punishment that Jesus will supposedly inflict on underperforming churches. Yet here is Jesus outside the worst church in the Bible hoping to enter and dine with them.

Was there ever a more breathtaking picture of grace?

By seeking to justify themselves, the Laodiceans had rejected Christ. Yet here is Jesus offering undeserved acceptance. They had spat upon his good name and insulted the Spirit of Grace, and Jesus replies, “Let’s eat.”

Whose door is it?

It is the door of our hearts. The letter is for the church, but the invitation is universal and personal. Jesus said, “If anyone hears my voice.” His invitation is for you and me and everyone besides.

Jesus has not come to the marketplace to address the crowd; he has come to your door and mine to meet each of us where we are at. We all must choose what to do with the Savior outside our door.

In the letter to the Laodiceans we see a radical demonstration of the one-way love that flows from heaven to earth. The Laodiceans are not nice people, but Jesus says he loves them and wants to spend time with them. Jesus does the same for all of us.

“If anyone.”

He loves us just because. Of course, he wants us to respond to his love. There’s no point bringing the wine and bread if we’re not going to open the door.

How do we open the door?

By saying yes to Jesus. That’s it. There are no hoops to jump through, there is no fitness test, no entrance exam. Some worry that they have to believe right or muster sufficient faith to enter the kingdom, but your heavenly Father has made it as easy as possible for you to respond to his love.

What if I don’t have enough faith?

Faith is simply a positive response to Jesus. In the faith conversation, Jesus takes the initiative and we respond. He speaks, we listen. He knocks, we open the door. He enters, we feast.

What does it mean to dine with Jesus?

To dine is to enjoy one another’s company. It’s resting from your labor, leaving the kitchen, and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

It’s the ultimate happy meal.

___________

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9 Comments on Jesus at the door

  1. Thank you, this is great! It portrays the real Jesus we don’t hear enough about. He loves you just because He sees beauty in you. He sees inherent beauty in you that is not dependent on where you are in life. So He pursues you and wants to share His life with you. He is always for you beyond what you can think or imagine, but no matter how faithful a friend is, there is only so much they can help you unless you allow them to be a part of your life.

  2. Harold Dueck // July 30, 2020 at 3:28 am // Reply

    Thank you Pauk for this enlightening teaching on our loving savior Jesus.

  3. Brian Nisbet // July 30, 2020 at 4:21 am // Reply

    I haven’t agreed with your insights on many occasions ( seriously sorry) but this just rang one giant Bell ! There is a spirit of Jesuslove you’ve tapped into That does come through, and well , there’s nothing Greater, this is the best dissertation I’ve ever heard On the “ knock at the door” ( I’m 67 and opened that door 45 yrs ago, lots to learn !

  4. Thank you. This is so beautiful and so true. Thank you Jesus!

  5. Couple of points to Paul’s interesting article on Jesus at the Door. #1 This is the only one of the 7 churches in Revelation that Jesus has no word of favorable commendation. The church at Laodicea is lukewarm, and Jesus will spit them out of His mouth (v.16). #2 However, Jesus is so gracious that He seeks her and knocks on the door for fellowship, if they will only open the door (v.20), and then He also invites them to sit with Him on His throne (v.21). #3 It is important to note that Jesus will reprove and discipline those whom He loves (v.19), unless they repent from their sins mentioned in (v.16-18), and have a zeal/passion for His love. If Jesus did not love or care for His people, He would not call His church to repent, and share with Him in fellowship and in the glory of His throne.

    • What truly is amazing about these scripture, is the fact Christ even called these a “church”. at all. Talk about “hope in Christ”, this church has to be its poster child (children)! No, this goes back to “Why halt you between two opinions? If God be God, follow him; if Baal (be God), follow him.” no room for neutrality. Even further back to Christ’s own name sake, Joshua and his famous words. “Choose you this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” So, who were they following/ serving?
      For if faith is worth anything, it is worth every thing”; (Matthew Henry) indifference is inexcusable, for Christ expects that men should declare themselves in zealousness (earnestness) either for him or against him. As why would Christ relate his overcoming with our overcoming? Since the same mechanism to which Christ was confronted with is ours too, as those who are also confronted and overcome in his trials, shall be conformed to Christ in his glory, to all eternity.
      But you will say; Can not be same mechanism, as Christ never repented! True, as he never sinned, but. ”though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered”, and is why he is the “author and finisher of our faith”,

  6. Thank you, Paul. this is a brilliant revelation of the grace Jesus came as, Hallelujah. Keep up the good news \0/

  7. Mongu Aoge // July 30, 2020 at 9:17 pm // Reply

    Thank you so much Mr Paul Ellis, “I do like your e-mails”. I have a letter that I should send to you.it will be a christmas day to me if you respond.

  8. Jesus the Ambassador to Father for us, to get new life in opening the door to our hearts. Love it as Father and Son as Won for us waits patiently, to enter in once anyone is willing, This is Amazing Grace. Thanks Paul for sharing this truth, Come as you are, as see this freedom in Love to us first, that goes out to all naturally, not having to

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