Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
It is generally understood to depict Jesus knocking on the door of a person’s heart seeking admission. This verse is often used in the course of an evangelistic effort. Christ can only knock, the person must open the door and invite Jesus in to be saved.
It is one of the most widely misunderstood and misapplied passages in Scripture. If you will look carefully at the context of this verse, you will see that Jesus is not knocking on the door of a person’s heart, He is knocking on the door of a church!
Jesus had just issued a message to each of seven different churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). These were not seven metaphorical churches nor were these messages parables. He addressed seven literal churches in existence at that time. These churches had specific problems which Jesus addressed directly. He concluded His seven messages with a summary statement which was intended for all seven churches—a summary message that ends this way—
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (v. 22)
One reason this passage has been so widely misunderstood and misapplied is because it is usually quoted out of context. Ripping it from the previous verse causes us to miss Jesus’ point entirely. Listen—
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Having issued His warnings to these seven churches Jesus pleads with them to heed and obey. If they do not, He will “reprove and discipline” them.