Significant words. You only see how significant words are, in retrospect. When I first read the words of Revelation 3:20 I found them very challenging. But as the years went on I realised that they had been life-changing. I will share how. But first the words of 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.
There are times in our lives when we try to grasp the meaning of life. Why does the world exist? Why do I exist? Is there any purpose in life? Is there a purpose for my life as an individual in such an immense world? Those questions were answered when I came across the words of Revelation 3:20 and began to understand their meaning.
Holman Hunt the artist once tried to capture the meaning of that verse. In his famous painting “The Light Of The World” he portrayed the Risen Jesus holding a lamp and knocking at a door. It was his way of expressing pictorially what the verse meant. He painted a door covered with vines. It had not been opened by the occupant. It had no handle on the outside of the door. This indicated that the door had to be opened from within. He portrayed Jesus as wearing two crowns. One indicated He was the eternal King of glory. The other was a crown of thorns to symbolise His suffering for humanity. The lamp symbolised Jesus’ saying that he was “the Light of the world”. There were many other things brilliantly symbolised in his painting.
However I came to know about Holman Hunt’s painting many years after I first read that verse. So what did that verse say to me when I first read it? It seemed to indicate that Jesus was outside my life and wanted to come in. I understood that, because up to that time I had no real knowledge of God or of Jesus and little experience of church. He certainly wasn’t in my life at that time. It became clear that I had to open the door to Jesus if He were to come in, otherwise He would continue to stand and knock.
A personal experience
I remember well the night I opened the door to the Risen Jesus even though it was over 50years ago. It was a New Year’s Eve. I had decided to begin the New Year with an open door to Jesus. So just on midnight as I opened the door by asking Jesus to come into my life, there was a great commotion. There were shouts of joy in the streets outside in Tweed Heads-Coolangatta where I was holidaying at the time. Car horns were honking and bells were tolling. Little did the people outside realise the significance of what was happening in my small apartment. But I did. Quite literally from that moment my life was rapidly and progressively changed. Only later did I read that there was joy in heaven that night, as Jesus said, (Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.) Fancy doing something on earth that brought joy in heaven!
The challenge to every person ever born
If Jesus can bring such changes into people’s lives why don’t more people open the door to Him? I have found there are some reasons. Many people don’t know that Jesus wants to enter the life of every person. Others do know but have never opened the door of their lives to Him. Some of those folk may still be thinking about it as I did for weeks. On the other hand there are some who don’t want to open the door to Him. That’s what is so challenging about the verse. God has given us all free will to make our choices in life. Jesus stands and knocks. He doesn’t break down the door. He stands. He knocks… and knocks.
Who is this Jesus some people keep outside the door? He is the Creator of all things, as John wrote in John 1: 3, All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. He is the Saviour who died for sinners, as the angel told Joseph of what was to happen to Mary, Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” He is the Lord and Master of the universe, as Peter declared on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Some people may say, “So what? How does that affect me? I have no interest in these things!” Did I also mention that ultimately He is to judge every individual who ever lived? Opening the door to the Jesus who stands and knocks is a courteous thing to do. If He is to be my judge and I am judged on whether I ever allowed Him into my life, then it is a very, very wise thing to do. It is also essential if we are to enjoy life in this world and in His presence in the world to come (with all those who have opened the door to Jesus).
Jim Holbeck. Blog No. 22. Posted on Sunday 22nd May 2011