From time to time on this blog we look at texts that have a special spiritual relationship to our understanding of God. One of those texts is Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Just the cadence of the verse is beautiful in itself. The words seem to roll off the tongue and a delight to recite. But this verse is so much more than a beautiful crafted sentence; it is the assurance of amazing grace that is poured out on us through the ever-seeking love of God.
In our home study groups we have been studying Jesus’ great sermon on the Bread of Life in John 6. Even a casual reading of the discourse reveals that God is drawing us to Him (v. 44) and any one who comes to Christ, and believes (v. 35) will not be cast out (v. 37) but instead have eternal life, and be raised up at the last day (v. 40)
What wonderful news for us! The Father draws us to Christ, we allow the Spirit to open our hearts up to His calling us, and the result is we enter into eternal life and if we should pass away before the return of Christ we have assurance of the resurrection.
In light of John 6 let’s take a peek at Revelation 3:20 and see if its simple message is in harmony with John’s. First of all let’s look at the natural breaks in the verse to get a sense of its parts. The first section gives us a wonderful picture of God’s grace, “behold I stand at the door and knock”. Notice it is Jesus (God) who comes seeking us. It is one of the great themes of the Book of John that God has come down to us, and that He has crossed the chasm that separates us because of sin. It is Jesus who comes seeking to save the lost because, in our sinfulness, we are incapable of seeking Him.
This aspect of the verse has been recreated scores of times by artists. As a young boy I was fascinated by a picture that hung in the church my mother attended, of Jesus in His long robes and flowing hair knocking on the door of an English style cottage. Though the painting was fanciful the message behind it was real, Jesus knocks on each of our hearts every day of our lives. There is never a moment of a day that God is not there with us. He is not passive just standing there waiting for us to discover Him and open the door, but instead He is actively knocking, waking us up out of our slumber until we come to see who is knocking.
The second section of the sentence reads, “if anyone hears my voice and opens the door.” As Christians we need to cut back on all the junk in our lives that keep us from hearing the voice of God. How do we expect to hear the knock on the door over the roar of the television, the roaring at sports events and the screaming chaos of anti-Christian entertainment in general? When we are wrapped up watching our favorite movie on Netflix the last thing we want is someone knocking at the door.
The Holy Spirit constantly whispers in our ear, ”answer the door, go and see who is there”, but so many people are paralyzed with indifference or caught up in their lifestyle that they barely hear the Spirit’s voice pleading with them to open the door and let Jesus in. Put the remote down and pick up the Bible and you will soon have that door thrown wide open. Keep yourself immersed in mindless pursuits and you won’t have time or the inclination to open the door.
The final section of the verse is a wonderful promise “I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” The Holy Spirit whispers in our ear “open the door”. And why should we open the door? Because when we do Jesus comes into our life like a long lost friend. Nothing is more intimate amongst friends than eating together. It is over the table that we learn about each other and friendships grow even closer.
John 6:56 reminds us, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him”. The language is very similar to Revelation 3:20 where Jesus comes in and eats with us and we with Him. Jesus, in John 6:56, is of course talking about spiritually accepting His broken body and the atoning blood manifested at the cross that brings us into fellowship with Him.
Both John 6:35-59 and Revelation 3:20 are calling us to open the door to God’s love and allow His grace to flood into our lives so that He abides with us and we abide with Him. The symbol of our communion with Jesus is specific in John 6 and implied in Revelation 3:20. When you and I believe that God exists and rewards those who seek Him (Heb. 11: 6) we have travelled from indifference to becoming children of God and eternal life is our reward. When we come to Communion we are simply expressing our gratitude and belief in the reality of God’s love for us all. We are presenting an outward enactment of what has happened in our hearts when we listened to the Spirit and opened the door to Jesus knocking.
Please, don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from abiding with Jesus. When He knocks, no matter how difficult it might be or inconvenient to you, open the door. When you hear the Spirit whispering and pleading in your ear, listen. Don’t doubt your faith or second-guess yourself after you have accepted Christ. God loves you and will never fail you. He proved that when His own Son hung on Calvary’s cross, we might have life. Believe in Him and you will have eternal life.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20