Open the door
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Holman Hunt’s painting ‘Light of the World’ is probably the best known of all biblical pictures. Jesus stands outside a door which is overgrown and clearly hasn’t been opened for a long time. Hunt painted no handle on the door; Jesus has to wait for the person inside to open it.
The risen Lord was standing outside the door of the church in Laodicea. Although the people were self-confident and believed that everything was fine, the truth was that Jesus hadn’t been admitted to the church. He had to ask to be let in. Could there be a greater tragedy than this? The whole point of a church is that it is the community where people can meet Jesus, the risen Lord. But this powerful letter tells us that it is actually possible for a church to exclude him. That sounds crazy but it can be done if we put something else at the centre. Churches can degenerate into being nothing more than a social club, or a social action organisation. While there’s nothing wrong with clubs or social action, a church is different. It is a gathering of those who love and worship Jesus, and who are committed to sharing life with him.
This letter is incredibly challenging, but also full of hope. The self-confident and arrogant Laodiceans needed to face up to their failure. If they did so, and welcomed Jesus into their church, everything could be changed. How typical of Jesus that he asked to be admitted to the church so that he could come for a meal! Meals had a central place in Jesus’ ministry. When he met with the tax collector Zacchaeus, the way in which he showed his acceptance and forgiveness of him was by sharing a meal with him.
Jesus comes to each of us and invites us to open the door of our life. He won’t force his way in. If we leave him outside, that’s where he stays. But to everyone who opens the door, we need to get ready for a party which we will share with others who love him and want to live for him.
Will you open the door of your life to Jesus today?
Lord Jesus Christ, I open up my life to you right now. Forgive me for those times when I have arrogantly assumed that I could cope by myself. I welcome you wholeheartedly into my life. Amen