Living in a pluralistic society, many people think there are many doors to salvation—that all religions are just one perspective of the Reality. Jesus could not disagree more, for He says, “I AM the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved and will come in and come out and find pasture” (John 10:9; my translation). Or as He says later, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6; my translation). If you wish to be saved from death, Jesus is the only gate (or “door”) to walk out of Hell and into eternal life, for He Himself descended into Hell and conquered it in His resurrection. He alone has the key of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18); therefore, only He can open the way to eternal life for you. He does not use these keys as a threat but as a promise. “I AM the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.” That is a promise—His promise to use His keys to enter enteral life through Him.
When Jesus said, “This is My body, this is My blood” to mean that the bread and wine are His literal body and blood, Sacramentarians (people who believe the Sacraments are only symbolic) will retort with John 10:9 above, “Is Jesus literally a door?” If Jesus, who is God, and who was able to raise Himself from the dead by the power of His own Word, says something is His literal body and blood and says He is the gate by which we walk through for salvation, then I take Him at His Word and believe Him. I may not be able to comprehend it, but I believe what He says, nonetheless. I do not question His Word.
Keep in mind that this discourse takes place with the temple in view as well as the context of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2). Psalm 118 was read during this festival. Note the following verses, “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank You that You have answered me and have become my salvation” (vv. 19-21). According to this psalm, the Lord is the gate of salvation; thus, by saying “I AM the gate,” Jesus is identifying Himself as that gate and Yahweh through whom there is righteousness and salvation.
As Rev. William Weinrich quotes from Brunson, “‘The door of Ps 118 is the means of access to and encounter with Yahweh. …In appropriating this psalm Jesus is therefore establishing that it is his mediation that provides access to the presence of Yahweh and establishes communion with him'” (Weinrich, 392). How do we enter salvation through Jesus, however? What is His mediation? It is “his exaltation, that is, his crucifixion” (Weinrich, 393). We therefore enter the gate by faith just as we become worthy to eat His body and drink His blood in the Supper by faith in the words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” (SC, Who receives this sacrament worthily?).
Weinrich, William C. John 7:2-12:50. Concordia Commentary. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2022.