Good morning, Friends! I’m so glad to see you all here today.
Last week, we had a really good time together, talking about prayer. The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray!”
And Jesus taught them a prayer they could use anytime, any place. We also looked at some of the promises Jesus made about prayer – that we can ask for anything in his name, and he’ll be glad to answer.
Today, we’re going to pick up the same idea, but approach it from a different direction. Instead of us asking God for things, today’s Scripture is about God making the approach to us.
Our Scripture is a famous passage from the book of Revelation. Jesus is talking to all the different churches, in many places, all around the world. In Revelation, Jesus writes letters to them.
- To one church, he writes, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance.”
- To another church he writes, “I know you’re living in a terrible place, right where Satan has his throne. . .”
- To another he writes, “I don’t want to lay any burden on you; just hang on, until I come again. . .”
There are seven of these mini-letters, and they’re filled with prayers, with commandments, with promises and dramatic images.
The one we’re reading today is the last of the seven letters. As I said, Jesus is really talking to all of the different churches, all around the world. But this section is the most famous one.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they will eat with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.Revelation 3:20-21
A lot of artists from many different countries have made pictures of the scene in today’s Scripture. Jesus, standing at every door, in every land, with his hand raised to knock.
Sometimes, Jesus is shown knocking at the door to a home. Sometimes, he’s knocking at the door to a heart. Sometimes, he’s shown knocking at the door to a church.
What’s really important, though, is that Jesus is on the outside, asking to come in.
We call ourselves Christians, and this is a Christian church. But the Scripture says that Jesus is on the outside. We’re in here, but Jesus is out there, knocking on the door, asking to come in.
I want to ask you to exercise your imagination this morning.
Imagine this Scripture: is Jesus knocking softly, or loudly? Is it a light “tap, tap” that you can barely hear? Or is it a loud “BOOM, BOOM!” that fills your whole house?
Does Jesus just knock once? If we don’t answer, does he move on, somewhere else? Or does Jesus keep knocking, till someone answers? Is Jesus impatient, or is Jesus persistent?
When Jesus knocks, is this our only chance? Or will Jesus come back, and try again? Do we get another chance to answer?
I wonder if there’s too much noise for us to hear Jesus, when he knocks at our door. Is the TV playing so loudly that we can’t hear? Are we plugged in to our video games, to our gadgets and gizmos, that we couldn’t hear the door crash down?
We live such noisy lives. All the motors and appliances we’ve got going, all the time. All the sounds of traffic, of fire engines and ambulances, train whistles and airplanes. Do we ever have a time when all these noises get turned off, so we can hear?
Do any of you get spam calls on your telephone? Do any of you get junk mail in your mail box? We have to spend so much time, filtering out this stuff, that maybe we could easily miss the one call from Jesus, the one appeal that would reach our heart. It’s like we’re just too busy to answer. We’ve got so many other things going on.
Have you ever been to a store, where they make you take a number, in order to be served? Or have you ever been put on hold, where some automatic voice tells you, “Thank you so much for your call. All of our dedicated service staff are busy handling other calls. You can hang up, and call again, or you can go to our web site, and send us a message, which we will never get around to answering. Or you can stay on the line, and maybe someone will answer you. You are caller number 53. Please hold!”
Has that ever happened to you? How many times, just this week?
How many times do we put Jesus on hold? How many times do we tell Jesus to take a number? How often do we really call back?
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. . .
A lot of the time, we’re just too busy to answer – we’ve got so many other things going on. We can’t even take a single day out of the week to rest.
We can’t take a few minutes out of the day to read or listen to the word of God. We’re too busy to pray. We’re too busy to be healed. We’re too busy to forgive.
You know, if we’re too busy to rest, if we’re too busy to pray, then we are too busy, period.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. . .
Sometimes we’re too tired to get up and answer. We’re mentally tired, physically tired, spiritually tired.
I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about this. If we’re too tired to talk with Jesus, we’ve got a problem. We’re doing too much. Or we’re doing things the wrong way.
Or maybe we hear the knock at the door, and we’re scared. We’re scared that if we open that door, we know it’s Jesus, and we know he’s going to ask us something.
Is he going to ask us to give up everything we have? Is he going to ask us to stop wasting our time? God forbid, is he going to ask us to change in some way?
I want to remind you of how Jesus looks in the picture. All Jesus is really asking is, “Can I come in, please??”
Picture this – Jesus is tired and ragged. It’s late in the day, and Jesus is carrying a lamp. He wants to bring light into our lives. His feet are tired and dusty. The hand that’s knocking on the door is scarred from the cross. Are we going to let him in?
Actually, in the Scripture, Jesus says, “If you open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me. . .”
Who would like to welcome Jesus himself to your supper table? Who would turn down that dinner invitation?
Jesus wants to give us our daily bread, the word of God. Jesus himself is the living bread, the living water. There’s always more than enough. There’ll be lots of leftovers to share and take home.
A meal with Jesus is a banquet! It’s like a great picnic, a carry-in meal with all of the most delicious things you could ever imagine, and lots of things you can’t.
I always love carry-in meals, because people bring their best. People bring things they wouldn’t cook just for themselves.
If you’re living alone, or if your kids are grown up and gone out in the world, you know what I’m talking about. It’s too lonely to make all the big casseroles or the party dishes you enjoy. Invite Jesus in – he’d love to share with you, and he’s got great recipes of his own.
Jesus used to say, “Whenever you come to a town, ask around, and find someone who is worthy. Knock on the door, and stay with them. When you come into a house, bless everyone there, and let your peace fill the house.”
That’s what Jesus wants to do, when he knocks at our door. He wants to bless everyone. And he wants to let his peace, the peace of God, rest on everybody.
Jesus once said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. . .” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not be in darkness, but will have the light of life. . .” (John 8:21)
Here I am, knocking at the door. . .
That’s a personal invitation, of course. Each one of us has a door in our heart, a door in our mind. And Jesus is knocking at our door.
But the way the Scripture is written in Revelation, Jesus is knocking at the door of our church. He’s right outside.
That’s a serious thought. We’re Christians. This is a Christian church. And is Jesus knocking on our door?
- Are we so busy, or so tired, or so distracted, that Jesus has to stand outside and knock at our front door?
- And as a church, are we listening for that inward knock, for that inward voice?
- Does Jesus get a chance to sit down with us? Does Jesus share our meal?
Jesus once told a story about person who had a neighbor, who came knocking at the door at midnight. They had company come from out of town, and they came over to borrow some food.
The one person said, “Go away! I’m already in bed! You’re going to wake up my wife and children!”
But Jesus said the neighbor kept on knocking, knocking at the door. Wouldn’t go away.
Jesus said, “Even if you don’t get up, because you like your neighbor, you’ll get up and answer the door, because they keep bothering you.” (Luke 11:5-8)
The way Jesus originally told the story, God is the one who’s gone to bed, and we’re the neighbor knocking at the door who won’t shut up.
Jesus said, “Keep on knocking! Keep on praying! Don’t give up! Even if God doesn’t like you, God’s going to answer you, because you don’t stop!”
What if we turn that story around? What if we’re the ones who have gone to bed and don’t want to be bothered, and Jesus is the one who keeps knocking on our door at midnight?
What if Jesus is the one who doesn’t give up? Jesus is knocking at our door, day and night, asking us to open.