Behold I Stand At the Door and Knock: What Does Revelation 3:20 Mean?


Revelation 3:20 reads, “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.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationRevelation 3:20
ESVBehold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
NASB‘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.
NIVHere I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
NLT“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Also see Cast Your Cares On Him to learn more.

Behold I Stand At the Door and Knock: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

3:14-22 Laodicea was the last and worst of the seven churches of Asia. Here our Lord Jesus styles himself, The Amen; one steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises. If religion is worth anything, it is worth every thing. Christ expects men should be in earnest.

How many professors of gospel doctrine are neither hot nor cold; except as they are indifferent in needful matters, and hot and fiery in disputes about things of lesser moment!

A severe punishment is threatened. They would give a false opinion of Christianity, as if it were an unholy religion; while others would conclude it could afford no real satisfaction, otherwise its professors would not have been heartless in it, or so ready to seek pleasure or happiness from the world.

One cause of this indifference and inconsistency in religion is, self-conceit and self-delusion; Because thou sayest. What a difference between their thoughts of themselves, and the thoughts Christ had of them! How careful should we be not to cheat our owns souls!

There are many in hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves. Professors grow proud, as they become carnal and formal. Their state was wretched in itself. They were poor; really poor, when they said and thought they were rich.

They could not see their state, nor their way, nor their danger, yet they thought they saw it. They had not the garment of justification, nor sanctification: they were exposed to sin and shame; their rags that would defile them.

They were naked, without house or harbour, for they were without God, in whom alone the soul of man can find rest and safety. Good counsel was given by Christ to this sinful people. Happy those who take his counsel, for all others must perish in their sins.

Christ lets them know where they might have true riches, and how they might have them. Some things must be parted with, but nothing valuable; and it is only to make room for receiving true riches. Part with sin and self-confidence, that you may be filled with his hidden treasure.

They must receive from Christ the white raiment he purchased and provided for them; his own imputed righteousness for justification, and the garments of holiness and sanctification. Let them give themselves up to his word and Spirit, and their eyes shall be opened to see their way and their end.

Let us examine ourselves by the rule of his word, and pray earnestly for the teaching of his Holy Spirit, to take away our pride, prejudices, and worldly lusts. Sinners ought to take the rebukes of God’s word and rod, as tokens of his love to their souls.

Christ stood without; knocking, by the dealings of his providence, the warnings and teaching of his word, and the influences of his Spirit. Christ still graciously, by his word and Spirit, comes to the door of the hearts of sinners. Those who open to him shall enjoy his presence.

If what he finds would make but a poor feast, what he brings will supply a rich one. He will give fresh supplies of graces and comforts. In the conclusion is a promise to the overcoming believer. Christ himself had temptations and conflicts; he overcame them all, and was more than a conqueror.

Those made like to Christ in his trials, shall be made like to him in glory. All is closed with the general demand of attention. And these counsels, while suited to the churches to which they were addressed, are deeply interesting to all men.

Also see Those That Wait On the Lord to learn more.

Revelation 3:20 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. stand—waiting in wonderful condescension and long-suffering.

knock—(So 5:2). This is a further manifestation of His loving desire for the sinner’s salvation. He who is Himself “the Door,” and who bids us “knock” that it may be “opened unto” us, is first Himself to knock at the door of our hearts. If He did not knock first, we should never come to knock at His door.

Compare So 5:4-6, which is plainly alluded to here; the Spirit thus in Revelation sealing the canonicity of that mystical book. The spiritual state of the bride there, between waking and sleeping, slow to open the door to her divine lover, answers to that of the lukewarm Laodicea here.

“Love in regard to men emptied (humbled) God; for He does not remain in His place and call to Himself the servant whom He loved, but He comes down Himself to seek him, and He who is all-rich arrives at the lodging of the pauper, and with His own voice intimates His yearning love, and seeks a similar return, and withdraws not when disowned, and is not impatient at insult, and when persecuted still waits at the doors” [Nicolaus Cabasilas in Trench].

my voice—He appeals to the sinner not only with His hand (His providences) knocking, but with His voice (His word read or heard; or rather, His Spirit inwardly applying to man’s spirit the lessons to be drawn from His providence and His word).

If we refuse to answer to His knocking at our door now, He will refuse to hear our knocking at His door hereafter. In respect to His second coming also, He is even now at the door, and we know not how soon He may knock: therefore we should always be ready to open to Him immediately.

if any man hear—for man is not compelled by irresistible force: Christ knocks, but does not break open the door, though the violent take heaven by the force of prayer (Mt 11:12): whosoever does hear, does so not of himself, but by the drawings of God’s grace (Joh 6:44): repentance is Christ’s gift (Ac 5:31).

He draws, not drags. The Sun of righteousness, like the natural sun, the moment that the door is opened, pours in His light, which could not previously find an entrance. Compare Hilary on Psalm 118:19.

I will come in to him—as I did to Zaccheus.

sup with him, and he with me—Delightful reciprocity! Compare “dwelleth in me, and I in Him,” Joh 6:56. Whereas, ordinarily, the admitted guest sups with the admitter, here the divine guest becomes Himself the host, for He is the bread of life, and the Giver of the marriage feast.

Here again He alludes to the imagery of So 4:16, where the Bride invites Him to eat pleasant fruits, even as He had first prepared a feast for her, “His fruit was sweet to my taste.”

Compare the same interchange, Joh 21:9-13, the feast being made up of the viands that Jesus brought, and those which the disciples brought. The consummation of this blessed intercommunion shall be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, of which the Lord’s Supper is the earnest and foretaste.

Also see Death and Life Are In the Power of the Tongue to learn more.

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