Luke 13: 22 – 30
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?” 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 weeping 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.”
If there was ever a warning to not consider yourself “in” because of affiliation, this was it. The Hebrew people assumed that they would all be in the kingdom because of their blood. After all they were God’s chosen people. Perhaps Jewish people have the same belief today and certainly Christians today have the same assumption – we are part of the church, baptized, etc. so we are part of the “in” crowd. We have so many “in” groups in this world and they may be totally missing the point. Look at what Jesus has those being rejected saying “We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets.” Remember what I said about the crowds, that they would go on living as if Jesus had never been there. It seems to be the same point. Jesus called disciples to follow him and then sent them out to make more disciples. Along the way we ended up with synagogue and temple worship rather than groups of disciples functioning as the body of Christ in their day and age.
But back to what Jesus actually said. He did not say that yes only a few will be saved. Rather he said “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Continuing to be in the world with the occasional nod to religion, perhaps even a fair bit of religiosity, does not mean anything to Jesus. He was all about followers who become like him, connected to Abba and filled with the Spirit.
These followers will come from every end of the earth and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Abba, I am with Jesus when he said to his disciples on their successful return from the mission he had entrusted to them “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
I rejoice at the extension of your kingdom to every new shining face, every new one suffering fiery trials and by your grace being transformed from glory to glory. Thank you, Lord Jesus for choosing us to be your disciples. Amen.
Noon Day Prayers Question
Jesus said “Many are called but few are chosen”. His disciples were all chosen then and his disciples are chosen today. Are you one of the chosen? It seems that this is something that we wake up to at some point in our lives, different for each one of us. Jesus said to his disciples “you believe that you chose me, but I’m telling you I chose you.” * So are you one of the “chosen?” Do you want to be a follower and a disciple of Jesus as opposed to simply being a good Christian?
Luke 13: 31 – 35
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day – for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Jesus is not afraid of whomever can kill his body. He already knows his destiny as a prophet – to die in Jerusalem. Who kills him does not matter so much. In the Suffering Servant Song ** you can see the scripture that formed Jesus’ sense of destiny, the servant whose suffering cleanses the whole nation. When you listen to the rest of what Jesus says, those saved by his suffering are his disciples, the new Israel, that is the 12 apostles and the 120 disciples baptized by the Spirit at Pentecost and the thousands of disciples who would begin following them.
But as the Messiah coming to Jerusalem he is filled with grief, not only for his own imminent suffering but for the coming destruction of Jerusalem… the blood of all the prophets being required of this generation. The old Israel will be smashed but the New Israel will continue to grow and spread out to all the corners of the earth. “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” What
awful visions must have tormented Jesus the lover of all Abba’s children. What terrible suffering of spirit and then of body for this man chosen for a bloody but glorious destiny.
How did he do it? How will we do what we have been created for? God give us the grace for our path as once you gave Jesus the grace for his. Fill us with your Spirit, refine us with your fire, send us where we are sent. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
** Isaiah 52:13—53:12