Please Open the Door

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Doors can keep people in, keep people out, let people in, or let people out.

A fascinating thing happened in Alabama to start off the month of August.  Walker County Sheriff James Underwood said a dozen inmates escaped from jail by using peanut butter to trick a new prison employee into opening an outside door.  They took the peanut butter from the jail sandwiches, used it to change the numbers above an inmate’s cell to the number identifying the door leading outside the jail.  An inmate then asked a new, inexperienced jailer to open the cell’s door.  The new jailer didn’t realize he was opening a door of escape! 

The 12 escapees, including two who were in jail for attempted murder, were recaptured immediately, except one, Brady Andrew Kilpatrick.  Kilpatrick had been jailed on drug charges.  He was recaptured 2 days later. 

The sheriff said you could not believe how smart some criminals are at knowing how to get out.  The new deputy thought he was opening a door for the men to go through to a cell, but in fact he opened the outside door.  A lot of people become captive to addictions, problems and sins that tie them up.  There seems to be no way out.  Too many people resign themselves to just living “a captured life.”

Jesus said that He came to “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18).  He’s the one who can open the door and release a person from anything that has control of him.  His desire is to always open doors to set people free.

I understand a door is constructed with four panels separated by a long upright center board and a shorter horizontal board.  These two boards actually form a cross.  This was the standard plan for making doors that comes from a carpenters’ guild in England in the Middle Ages.  These craftsmen took as their motto, “I am the door.”

They worked the sign of the cross into doors, and it is still done today.  The cross and the door are a combination of symbols that show there is hope for anybody held captive behind a closed door.  God assures us that any door can be opened through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Jesus doesn’t need peanut butter to open doors!  Jesus doesn’t knock doors down to enter.  He never takes a battering rod to bust His way in.  The Bible says that He simply knocks on the door.  Revelation says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anybody hears my voice and will open the door, I will come in and fellowship with them” (Rev. 3:20).  He gently knocks.

Jesus at the door knockingHere is a beautiful picture by Warner Sallman that shows Jesus gently knocking on the door of a house inside a garden.  The interesting thing is there’s no handle on that outside door.  A little boy asked his father about that, and the father informed him that the door always has to be opened from the inside.  The doorknob is on the inside of the door.

God’s greatest desire is to gently knock at the door of your life and let you open it so He can come in.  When the power of His presence fills your heart, the door stays open.  He then sends you out as a new person.

You don’t have to be extremely creative like those prisoners in the Walker County jail.  You don’t need peanut butter – you just need the cross of Jesus Christ.  And when you walk through the doors that Jesus opens, you won’t be captured again.  As smart as those guys thought they were, they were free for only a few hours.

The Bible said that when Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed!  (Read John 8:36)

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