We continue reading the letter to Philadelphia. As each of the seven
epistles, this letter begins with a self-identification of Christ. We learn from
this how important it is to focus on Jesus Christ. Part of the self-designation
in this letter is the emphasis on the key power of Christ. We read, “He that
hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth,
and no man openeth.” Jesus is the faithful doorkeeper. As the great
shepherd, He will see to it that all the sheep He has received from His
Father will safely enter the sheepfold. But He will not lose a single sheep
from the flock either. In the context of this letter, it is clear that this door is
the door to the new, heavenly Jerusalem. We read about this city in verse
12. What a comfort to these people with little strength. It is Jesus who
opens the door to the heavenly Jerusalem, and after He opens the door, no
one will be able to close that door. No matter how small and weak the faith.
It is a comfort to read that Christ has already used this key power. We read
in verse 8, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.”
Salvation is in Jesus. We read in John 10:9, “I am the door. If anyone enters
by me, he will be saved.” But Jesus is not just talking about salvation here.
He also speaks about the work of mission. The door is also the door to the
spread of the gospel, to the work of mission and evangelism. Christ is
preached, and He is the Door. The power of preaching God's word is in
Christ. John Stott says the following about this: “If the door is the symbol of
the church’s opportunity, the key is the symbol of Christ’s authority.” We
read in verse 9 that even unbelieving Jews will repent and become true
lovers of God. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which
say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come
and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” The
church in the New Testament is the church of Jew and Gentile. There are
expectations for both Jews and Gentiles. In our work of spreading the
gospel, let us not forget the Jews.