“And all the city was gathered together at the door.” Mark 1:33
Why had the whole city come to the door of Peter’s home? They came because Jesus was there. They did not yet know Who He was, but they came because they had heard of His miracles. His fame had spread throughout Galilee and had brought all to this place to seek something from Him, yet they sought not after God, but after what God could do for them.
As much as these miracles caught their attention, and caused some even to believe, soon they became tired of them, and sought after Jesus for the basic needs. Jesus would minister to them the Truth, expounding upon the things God had designed for mankind, and how we were to live this life properly, in respect of our Creator, and out of love for Him, and as they would listen, most did not yet have spiritual ears to hear and understand. It sounded good to many, they just didn’t get it, yet. But they did become hungry, and so Jesus would miraculously feed them. This, though, brought them further into wrong focus.
Jesus would tell them after they chased after him around the sea of Galilee that they weren’t even seeing miracles at this point. He flat out told them they only came after Him because they had been fed. You see they still had Sin on them, each and every last one. Christ had not yet come to the Cross, and so all mankind was still in a struggle to deal with the Sin that each of us has. It causes selfishness and self focus, which directly opposes what Jesus would later teach about loving and living for others, and being God focused. To better see what was in the hearts of these men and women when they first came to Peter’s door, long before Jesus spoke about their focus on the physical, we can look to another example in the book of Genesis.
“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.” Genesis 19:4-9
The hearts of the men in Sodom were so depraved, so treacherous, so desperately wicked that they wanted to take the angels, whom they saw as men, and have sex with them by force. How did this come about? The Bible does not say how the entire city came to know, but they did none-the-less. And here they were, at the door, looking for what they could get, or take, from the men in Lot’s house. Their hearts were nothing but selfish, and what more could have been expected, since we know that the Bible says no man is righteous, no not one, and that our hearts are deceitful and wicked, and none of us, apart from God, even realize it. So, the Sin that caused the people of Sodom to come to the door seeking evil is still the same Sin that brought the people to Peter’s door.
Their hearts were the same, thought they did not look for evil things from the Lord, their motives were similar, and when the motives finally manifested as they chased Him around the sea of Galilee, He addressed it head on. He told them to seek after the bread provided by the Father, and He clearly told them He was this Bread, yet they still did not understand fully. They asked Him what they could do for the work of God in the midst of this conversation, and Jesus very concisely, calmly, and truthfully says, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29) And so, He tells us, we can do nothing more than believe. They didn’t understand that God does the work, and that Jesus would die for our victory. They didn’t yet know that the Cross would be the Way of provision. Decades later, long after Christ had died for us all, the last living Apostle of the time would write the book of Revelations and there would be another door spoken of.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
Jesus speaks of the lukewarm church, neither hot nor cold. The church should either be on fire with the Spirit or having the everlasting flow of the Living Water which is the Holy Spirit working through it through Love. The lukewarm church has neither operation of the Spirit working in it. The Holy Spirit does not work for only one reason. That reason would be when we take our faith from Jesus Christ and Him crucified and place it elsewhere. The most likely place we commonly place our faith is in our own activities, and in ourselves. When we pray, it should be by the desire placed within us by the Spirit to do so, if not by the unction of the Spirit Himself with words He prays for us. When we read the Word, it should be through the desire to do so placed within us by the Spirit to do so, and with the discerning sensitivity to what He has to say through it. When we come to church, it should be by the desire placed within us by the Spirit to do so, to worship and commune with God, and the Body in Love and joy.
If we fall into the trap of making any of these things routine, where we regard it as a type of chore, checking off having done it for the day, so that we can claim holiness before the Lord, and taking credit for doing something for God, that is the work of our own hands. We are, in our own hearts, deceiving ourselves because while we think we are doing something for the Lord, we are really only serving ourselves, our egos, and our own self righteousness. Job did this very thing, and had to endure rebuke by the hands of a servant, and then by the Lord Himself, for his own self righteousness. When we do the works of our own hands, God does not honor this. He says that it is better to obey than to sacrifice. To us this means it is better to follow the lead of God, through the Holy Spirit, in every detail of our lives in total surrender, instead of our “sacrifices” through the works of our own hands, and keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
So, Jesus is now on the other side of the door, where the church is within, believing they are in the will of the Lord, and that everything they are doing will be accepted by God, He is without, knocking to try and get the attention of the church to let them know, He’s not in it. He’s has been forced out in many ways, but today, we can see the heart of the matter. He died to forgive the sins of mankind, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, caused namely by the Sin of Adam. If the church is not following the true Jesus, and they are following their own doctrines, and they believe that the works of their own hands will be accepted because they are good, then they are deceived and unsaved. If they are unsaved, Sin remains and affects their hearts, causing selfishness and self focus, which would mean that they are hardened to the Truth, and alike to the men of Sodom, and the men outside Peter’s door. They are seeking what they want, but they want it their own way, and that is not the will of God.
May the door to our hearts, individually and corporately, be opened to Christ, Who holds the keys of David. May we all see within ourselves those things that may be hindering the work of the Spirit in our lives. May we all see our hearts honestly tonight. It’s heart check time, Body of Christ. Is our heart on fire? Does Living Waters flow from us freely? Or are we lukewarm, not abiding in His will at all, having deceived ourselves? Let us each open up to the Lord tonight and ask Him to reveal to us those things to which we have attached a self focus, if there be any at all, and if there is, to cleanse us of it and give it over to Him. Let us not be standing on the other side of a closed door to Christ for any reason. Let’s take our hand of the handles, and let Christ open the doors.