Revelation 3:20 - Open the Door and Jesus Will Come In.
Revelation 3:20 - Open the Door and Jesus Will Come In.
Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If
anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and
dine with him, and he with Me.
In Rev 3:20 we have one of the most famous pictures of Jesus
in the whole New Testament. "Behold," says the Risen Christ, "I am
standing at the door and knocking." This picture has been derived from
two different sources.
1. It has been taken as a warning that the end is near, and
that the Coming of Christ is at hand. The Christian must be ready to
open whenever he hears his Lord knocking (Lk 12:36). When the signs
come, the Christian will know that the last time is near, even at the
doors (Mk 13:29; Matt 24:33). The Christian must live well and live in
love because the judge is standing at the doors (Jas 5:9). It is true
that the New Testament uses this picture to express the imminence of
the coming of Christ. If that is the picture here, this phrase
contains a warning and tells men to have a care, for Jesus Christ the
Judge and King is at the door.
2. We cannot say that that meaning is impossible and yet it
does not seem to fit the context, for the atmosphere of the passage
is not so much warning as love. It is much better to take this
saying of Christ as expressing the appeal of the lover of the souls of
men. The origin of the passage is much more likely to be in Solomon's
Song when the lover stands at the door of his beloved and pleads with
her to open. "Hark! my beloved is knocking. Open to me, my sister,
my love, my dove, perfect one" (SS 5:2-6). Here is Christ the lover
knocking at the door of the hearts of men. And in this picture we see
certain great truths of the Christian religion.
We see the pleading of Christ. He stands at the door of the
human heart and knocks. The unique new fact that Christianity brought
into this world is that God is the seeker of men. No other religion
has the vision of a seeking God.
1. In his book Out of Nazareth Donald Baillie cites three
witnesses to the uniqueness of this conception. Montefiore, the great
Jewish scholar, said that the one thing which no Jewish prophet or
Rabbi ever conceived of is the "conception of God actually going out
in quest of sinful men, who were not seeking him, but who were
turned away from him." The National Christian Council of Japan in a
document found the distinctive difference of Christianity from all other
religions in, "Man not seeking God, but God taking the initiative in
seeking man." St. Bernard away back in the twelfth century used often to
say to his monks that, "However early they might wake and rise for
prayer in their chapel on a cold mid-winter morning or even in the dead
of night, they would always find God awake before them, waiting for
them--nay, it was he who had awakened them to seek his face."
2. Here is the picture of Christ searching for sinful men who
did not want him. Surely love can go no further than that.
We see the offer of Christ. As the King James Version has it,
"I will come in and sup with him." The word translated "sup" is
deipnein (1172-GSN) and its corresponding noun is deipnon (1173-GSN).
The Greeks had three meals in the day. There was akratisma,
breakfast, which was no more than a piece of dried bread dipped in wine.
There was ariston (0712-GSN), the midday meal. A man did not go home
for it; it was simply a picnic snack eaten by the side of the
pavement, or in some colonnade, or in the city square. There was deipnon
(1173-GSN); this was the evening meal; the main meal of the day; people
lingered over it, for the day's work was done. It was the deipnon
(1173-GSN) that Christ would share with the man who answered his knock, no
hurried meal, but that where people lingered in fellowship. If a man
will open the door, Jesus Christ will come in and linger long with
We see human responsibility. Christ knocks and a man can
answer or refuse to answer. Christ does not break in; he must be
invited in. Even on the Emmaus road, "He appeared to be going further"
(Lk 24:28). Holman Hunt was right when in his famous picture The
Light of the World he painted the door of the human heart with no
handle on the outside, for it can be opened only from within. As Trench
has it: "Every man is lord of the house of his own heart; it is his
fortress; he must open the gates of it," and he has "the mournful
prerogative and privilege of refusing to open." The man who refuses to open
is "blindly at strife with his own blessedness." He is a "miserable
Christ pleads and offers; but it is all to no avail if a man
will not open the door.
The promise of the Risen Christ is that the victor will sit
with him in his own victorious throne. We will get the picture right
if we remember that the eastern throne was more like a couch than a
single seat. The victor in life will share the throne of the victorious
Every letter finishes with the words: "Let him who has an ear
hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches." This saying does two
1. It individualizes the message of the letters. It says to
every man: "This means you." So often we listen to a message which
comes through a preacher and apply it to everyone but ourselves. In
our heart of hearts we believe that the stern words cannot possibly
be meant for us and that the promises are too good to be true for
us. This phrase says to every one of us: "All these things are meant
2. It generalizes the message of the letters. It means that
their message was not confined to the people in the seven Churches
nineteen hundred years ago, but that through them the Spirit is speaking
to every man in every generation. We have set these letters
carefully against the local situations to which they were addressed; but
their message is not local and temporary. It is eternal and in them
the Spirit still speaks to us. [Barclay Commentary re Rev. 3:14-22]
How are you? I just had to send a note to tell you how much I
love you and care about you.
I saw you yesterday as you were talking with your friends. I
waited all day, hoping you would want to talk with Me also. As evening
drew near, I gave you a sunset to close your day and a cool breeze to
rest you - and I waited. You never came. Oh, yes, it hurts Me - but I
still love you because I am your Friend.
I saw you fall asleep last night and longed to touch your
brow, so I spilled moonlight upon your pillow and face. Again I
waited, wanting to rush down so we could talk. I have so many gifts for
you! You awakened late and rushed off to work. My tears were in the
Today you looked so sad - so all alone. It makes My heart
ache because I understand. My friends let Me down and hurt Me many
times, too, but I love you.
Oh, if you would only listen to Me. I love you! I try to tell
you in the blue sky and in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in
the leaves on the trees and breathe it in the colors of flowers. I
shout it to you in mountain streams and give the birds love songs to
sing. I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature
scents. My love for you is deeper than the ocean and bigger than the
biggest want or need in your head. Oh, if you only knew how much I want
to walk and talk with you. We could spend an eternity together in
I know how hard it is on this earth; I really know! And I
want to help you. I want you to meet My Father. He wants to help you,
too. My Father is that way, you know.
Just call Me - ask Me - talk with Me! Oh, please don't forget
Me. I have so much to share with you!
All right, I won't bother you any further. You are free to
choose Me. It's your decision. I have chosen you, and because of this I
will wait - because I love you!
Your Friend, Jesus [Osterhus Pub. House, 4500 W. Broadway,
Minneapolis MN 55422]
Pray in your closet, and as you go about your daily labor let
your heart be often uplifted to God. It was thus that Enoch walked
with God. These silent prayers rise like precious incense before the
throne of grace. Satan cannot overcome him whose heart is thus stayed
upon God. There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to
offer up a petition to God. There is nothing that can prevent us from
lifting up our hearts in the spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of
the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a
petition to God and plead for divine guidance. A closet of communion may
be found wherever we are. We should have the door of the heart open
continually and our invitation going up that Jesus may come and abide as a
heavenly guest in the soul..... live in the pure air of heaven.... Those
whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessing of God will
walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have constant
communion with heaven.... Let the soul be drawn out and upward, that God may
grant us a breath of the heavenly atmosphere. We may keep so near to
God that in every unexpected trial our thoughts will turn to Him as
naturally as the flower turns to the sun. SC98-100
MINI-VIDEO DEVOTIONAL ON THIS PASSAGE BY PASTOR SHAWN BOONSTRA: