There is always a mystical element in Christianity, “My sheep hear my voice.” Not that there isn’t a lost history of proof behind that voice, a history capture in the Scriptures. Abraham in that sense ends up being THE man of faith because he heard the voice without any real history. But we are all a bit like Father Abraham. The shepherd calls, and we hear the voice and follow to a good land.
Jesus parable here in John is help for Christians. There are always three types of voices. And Jesus tells us how to tell the difference. That is what this sermon is about. How do we sore out the thieves, the gatekeepers and the shepherd? It is surprisingly simple, and the highest art in the faith, listening for law and gospel.
It was mother’s day, it was also the day often called Good Shepherd Sunday, so called because the reading comes from John 10 where Jesus says that he is the Good Shepherd. Except that the lectionary this year gives us not the shepherd but the ten verses often missed where Jesus proclaims himself the door.
The sermon is a mapping of what that could mean. We look at the literal elements of a door brought up by the text: open, closed, proper entry, improper entry, protection. So, when Jesus says that “I am the door” those are the appropriate elements to ponder. What does an open door mean? What does a closed door mean? Since Jesus claims that he himself is the door, most of these things have Christocentric, that is Christ at the center, answers. In particular we examine election, justification and the door to prayer. The sermon proclaims how the door works in these ways and teaches us how we should think of Jesus. We make two moral examples of how we should live today. And the sermon concludes with the eschatological or final things meaning of the door. Jesus has used a figure of speech – the door – to describe spiritual reality, so we spend some time pondering the core meanings. I’d invite you to give it a listen.