Luke 13: 22 – 30 The narrow door

 

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE


Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?’

/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Arial”,sans-serif; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, “Sir, open the door for us.”

‘But he will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.”

‘Then you will say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.”

‘But he will reply, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!”

‘There will be wailing there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.’

*       *       *

Jesus is somewhere between Galilee and Judea, and is teaching in one of the towns or villages. One of the crowd asks, ‘Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?’ The person asking the question would have been a follower of the Mosaic law, and a descendant of Abraham. He would have considered himself righteous by virtue of the covenant between God and Abraham. To him, the Gentiles were unclean.

What does he mean by his question?

Perhaps he is implying that Abraham’s descendants will be saved while the Gentiles are not. Or perhaps he is remembering the way Israel was often reduced to a remnant of the righteous.

In his answer, Jesus says, ‘People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.’ Some of God’s chosen people, the Jews, will not enter the kingdom, while Gentiles – those from the east and west and north and south – will be saved.

More importantly, though, Jesus, reframes the question, saying ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.’

Jesus is the narrow door. We can only come to the Father by way of Jesus. In this passage Jesus seems to say that a considerable number of people will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. That’s a concept that I find very difficult to accept. Are we not all made in the image of God? I would not be able to shut out my children from my family whatever they had done. How could a loving God bear to do that? And, indeed the parable of the prodigal son seems to suggest that he will not do so.

Whether judgment and permanent exclusion from God’s presence happens or not, the mere possibility makes our response to Jesus urgent. Are we for or against? Do we take up our cross and follow him, or follow our own perceived self-interest?

I have chosen to follow Jesus. I want to know him better and experience his presence more closely. What do I have to do?

Well, I have Jesus’ own teaching on that. One of the clearest passages of teaching is the parable of the Good Samaritan, which starts with the question ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’

He answered, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” ‘

‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’

In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the inn-keeper. “Look after him,” he said “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’

The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’

Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’  

Today’s passage, the narrow door, is saying once again that we must follow Jesus. While we cannot earn a place in the kingdom of heaven – that is a free gift from God – if we believe in Jesus and follow him, we will want to know him better and we will want to obey him. Our obedience is the touchstone of our faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for Jesus. Please help me to long to know Jesus better, and to obey him more consistently.

In Jesus name, Amen

 

 

 

Today’s passage, the narrow door, is saying once again that we must follow
Jesus. While we cannot earn a place in the kingdom of heaven – that is a free
gift from God – if we believe in Jesus and follow him, we will want to know him
better and we will want to obey him. Our obedience is the touchstone of our
faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for Jesus. Please help me to long to know Jesus better, and
to obey him more consistently.

In Jesus name, Amen

 

 

 

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: