Throughout time, travelers around the world have come to know the red door as a symbol of rescue, a place of unconditional welcome. The red door stands as an unspoken salutation to all those lost, wearied, and in need of rescue. And like all good symbols its origins are rooted in a deeper story, and this one is incredible. Lend your mind to this story, and I guarantee that after hearing this you will never see a red door or yourself the same way ever again.
Long before travelers would use the symbol of the red door, Hebrew slaves used it as an omen of protection. Thirty-five hundred years ago in the land of Egypt there lived a people known as the Israelites, the direct descendants of Abraham, God’s chosen people. In the ancient book of Genesis God establishes a covenant, a promise, with Abraham to make a Nation of his offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky; and from these people all nations in the world would be rescued and all peoples would be blessed.
However, before any of this could take place the rescuer would have to first become the rescued – Israel would need to be saved. God told Abraham “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated for hundreds of years”. Just as God foretold, the enslavement of the Israelites came true and they were ensnared into the grasp of Egyptian Pharaohs for four hundred years. Generations of these elected people lived their entire lives laboring for men that had the audacity to consider themselves gods living on earth.
All of that was to change during the 18th Dynasty of Egyptian history. In those days a line of the most ruthless Pharaohs ever known dominated Egypt. These tyrants had issued an edict to kill all male children born to the Israelites. However, a courageous woman inspired by God defied the Pharaohs and refused to kill her son. Instead she placed him in a basket and sent him down the Nile River hoping to save him. Little did she know God was saving a nation. Providence guided this precious basket into the arms of the Pharaohs daughter. She took him from the basket, held him in her barren arms, and named him Moses, the newest Prince of Egypt, who would be raised within the palace of the Pharaohs until the appointed time.
As God intended, Moses was later exiled to the deserts of Sinai, where he was transformed by God to return as the deliverer of the Israelites. Moses was at first unsuccessful in rescuing his people for the Pharaoh’s heart was like stone and even tremendous signs from God went unnoticed. Plague after plague rained down from the Heavens leaving the people and the land of Egypt sick, desolate, and destroyed. Yet still, the Pharaoh’s heart would not relent. After the first nine plagues of pestilence were inflicted upon Egypt, the Pharaoh still refused the Israelites their freedom. It was not until the tenth and final plague that the Pharaoh’s heart softened enough for the long awaited release of his slaves. It was this final and most damaging plague to the Pharaoh’s dynasty that began the exodus of the Israelites and the entrance to our story.
On the night of the tenth plague, the angel of death was to come into Egypt and take the life of every firstborn son in the land. God, desiring to save his chosen people, Instructed Moses to tell all the Israelites to sacrifice a perfect lamb and paint it’s pure and innocent crimson-red blood on their doors. This red door would be a sign of their faithfulness and a symbol of God’s protection. The angel would pass over their homes leaving their firstborn sons unharmed. The pure, red blood of an innocent lamb painted on their doors literally transformed their homes into a refuge from death!
Following the loss of his first-born son, Pharaoh was so stricken with sadness and anger that he sent the Israelites out of Egypt and into God’s promise, forever binding the blood of an innocent lamb with God’s salvation. Fifteen hundred years later our story would find its true fulfillment in another lamb that was sacrificed; the one prepared before the foundation of the earth itself.
Crowds were stirred by the loud proclamations of a man named John who spoke of God coming to rescue the world. Each day John would go to a river called Jordan to baptize the people coming to him. One day as a man named Jesus crested over the hill to the Jordan River, John looked up to him and shouted, “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”. He was the lamb sent to save all of humanity, a sacrifice not limited to one time and place, but whose blood would paint the door to the entire cosmos red.
This is our beautiful truth! The lamb is Jesus, and the story of Israel’s deliverance has always been, and will always be the story of our salvation. The blood of the lamb painted on Israelite doors was a picture of Jesus who would come to rescue the entire world from an enemy greater than the tyrants of Egypt – the Enemy of sin and death.
Long before any homes painted their doors red, it was actually the early church that began this tradition. They showed the blood of Jesus had purchased salvation for all, and in Him was our true rescue.
But the conclusion of our story does not end with salvation – it begins with salvation. The unexpected beauty is that in Jesus you and I become the red doors. We are the red doors! Those of us bought with a price and covered by the blood of the lamb are painted red and embody the hope and salvation for our world. We are the ones in whom God saves but also through whom God saves.
We have named our church Red Door as a call to our body of believers to live out their lives being this entryway to hope. We want our homes to be places of refuge. In our workplaces, we want our co-workers to see the hope that we have, to view our offices and cubicles as areas of restoration. We desire to surround our city with environments where safety, hope, and renewal can be found. These are the places where Jesus lives and breathes among us — areas of light and beauty that can only be found through salvation.