Monday, July 1, 2013

Luke 13:22–30

22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

Having just given to very brief (but really important) Parables about the Kingdom (the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Luke 13:18-19; and the Parable of the Leaven, Luke 13:20-21). Jesus now in response to a question asking: "are many saved?" declares not a number of how many will be saved. Instead Jesus says and emphasizes to us all: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” And so Jesus tells us all too first and foremost too strive to enter the Kingdom of heaven for the onus is on us all too first and foremost repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ while we can. For He already has made salvation available to us all by His suffering crucifixion death for us all. Yet as He reveals here not all will attain to eternal life by faith in His Person. For as Jesus reveals here though there were many who were following Him, and or were associated with Him, yet many of them, were not yet yielded to Him and trusting in Him as their Lord and Savior. Indeed most of Jesus' followers then could have easily identified themselves with Him as simply "a fellow Jew" just as they were. And thus hold Him in their heart as just another "religious teacher" from amongst them". Indeed there probably were many who were just content to hear Jesus speak Words of Wisdom to them as a gifted rabbi, or as they probably already heard about His exploits, to see Him perform sort of miracle worker with words and power like the prophets of old. And so Jesus knowing that emphasizes that it is absolutely paramount for each individual to strive to enter by the narrow gate while they can. For the Kingdom of God is not a right for anyone. For as Jesus radically declares here, the Jews (Jesus' own countrymen by birth) will not enter the Kingdom simply because they are Jews and Abraham's biological descendents (Vs 28-30). Nor will you and I enter simply because we went to church on Sunday, or grew up in a Christian home, or belong to a certain denomination, or like watching Christian TV programming, or listening to Christian music and concerts, and reading Christian books and such. No, those things have their place, but they can never replace repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which requires a total surrender to God and a total commitment to Christ. Which first means we trust in Him completely and then seek to obey Him unreservedly; that is what Jesus is warning us all about here. Of only having a faith of association with Him, or with His people, or with things and activities and ideals associated with Him. But not having a faith in, and commitment towards Him personally as our Lord and Savior. And so Jesus describes this perilous situation to us, which can bring a false sense of security to those who leisurely reside in their self-complacent and or self satisfied state.

For that is how chapter thirteen begins with Jesus exposing, then commanding repentance from peoples false sense of security that sees other people's suffering as God's judgment on them, yet does perceive one's own need for repentance! (Luke 13:1-9). And so Jesus warns us here and now of the terrible end of those things, of only associating with Him, yet living like one who does not know Him (vs. 25-27). For as He says, in the end there will people who down through the ages heard Him speak through His Word, yet neglected to believe in Him and put His Words into their lives practice. And so in the end though they lived amongst true Christians or where His Name was named, they will in the end find themselves trying to enter the Kingdom yet only to hear Him say to them: Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity. And so again, Jesus compels us all to "strive to enter by the narrow gate" (also see Matt. 7:13-14). And not be His disciple by mere association with His Person, His people, His or causes. Rather let us all be Jesus' disciple by repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ's Person who was crucified for all our sins remission and raised from the dead for our justification, so that the moment we believe in Him, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit for the Day of redemption (Eph 1:13-14). Therefore let us all put our complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ's Person and live our lives now in full dependence on Him. And thus let us all wait on Him; while waiting for Him! Serving the Lord Jesus Christ in whatever callings, capacities, and of course Spirit giftedness and empowering He lays on us, with all joy and faith, until His Second Coming or our going home to be with Him! For we who believe are those who as Jesus says "will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. 1982, Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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