Unexpected Jesus

When Jesus says something surprising or unexpected we should pay attention. God is not willing that ANY should perish, but according to Jesus MANY will try to enter the kingdom but won’t be able to get in.

One Word –

And someone said to him, “LORD, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:23-24

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9, 10; Luke 12, 13

Big Idea –

Luke shares two short stories or parables that Jesus told about the Kingdom of God. In the first the Kingdom is compared to a mustard seed that grows into a large tree where birds can nest. In the second the Kingdom is likened to yeast that works within the dough causing it to rise (an interesting idea to ponder as often yeast is used negatively as a picture of sin, but here Jesus uses it in a positive way to illustrate how God’s kingdom is not idle or sitting still  but growing and advancing).

The point of these short stories seems to be that from small beginnings the Kingdom of God will continue to expand and grow. God’s kingdom is to have an ever increasing impact in our lives individually, within our churches and our community.

Then as Jesus continues on His way through the towns and villages making His way toward Jerusalem. Based upon these two stories about God’s kingdom I think the what Luke does not say here is important to consider – why is Jesus on the move? He is doing the work of the Father to advance the kingdom of God. In a sense you might say that Jesus is planting mustard seeds or spreading yeast wherever He goes causing God’s kingdom to grow in people’s lives.

That’s when someone comes with the question, “LORD will those who are saved be few?” Another way of asking the same question would be, “How big will God’s kingdom be?” This is a great question because by all accounts it did not appear that God’s kingdom was advancing. Yes, Jesus was a miracle worker, but He had not brought about God’s kingdom in a way most Jews anticipated. The Romans were still in control, and Jesus was only an itinerate preacher and not taking control as Israel’s king (thus advancing God’s kingdom in the way most people expected).

Jesus’ answer is simple. Look after yourself. Don’t worry about how God’s kingdom is expanding around you or in the lives of others. The starting place was to be certain that you are personally welcomed into God’s kingdom. Once we are within it then the kingdom can grow within us making us obedient citizens of a kingdom not of this world.

And this is where Jesus said what should surprise us causing us to sit up and take notice. Jesus encouraged this individual to do everything they could “to enter through the narrow door.” Don’t make the mistake of so many who “will seek to enter and will not be able.” Jesus goes on to illustrate this as a mater who rises to shut the door; while many will claim to be friends of the master, he will tell them, “I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!” (v. 27). And it is within this context that Jesus says, “behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (v. 30).

When it comes to the kingdom of God, let’s make sure we have first looked to ourselves entering through the narrow door. Otherwise, we might be among those “first” who think we are included only to discover we’re actually among the many to arrive “last” and are locked out.

And so it’s not really a question of how big the kingdom of God will be out there, but how much of God’s kingdom will I allow to grow within me? It is not that we are not to have a heart for the lost so God’s kingdom will advance in the lives of people in our community or around the world; rather we must first look to our own hearts. If I examine my personal relationship with God, then the Spirit will transform my heart so that God’s Kingdom continues to expand both within and through me.

Exemplify –

Before I look at others, I must first examine my own heart to be certain that I am included in God’s Kingdom submitting to Christ’s authority as my LORD or ultimate master.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, it is so easy for me to look at others and think that as a Christian they are not going to make it. Or I mistakenly think that some people are too far gone and have no hope of being saved. Forgive me for not looking first to my own heart to enter through the narrow door and daily find the way to life-to allow God’s kingdom to reign in me. Jesus do a work in me that only you can do. Expand Your Kingdom in me so that it will likewise grow through me in the lives of my family and friends.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

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