Thursday, December 31, 2015

Luke 13:22-35, Preached December 2015

Note the very first verse of the reading, “Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem”

“To Jerusalem” This little phrase has great importance.  The man recognizes that Jesus is the king who comes to Jerusalem, promised beforehand in Zech. 9:9  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy king comes to thee, he is just and saved lowly and riding on a donkey.”  He is the Son of Man (Dan. 7).

And so he asks despairing, “Lord will only a few be saved?”  because from his Greek Bible he reads that there will only be a few see Ezekiel 5:3 and Isaiah 10 (Septuagint).

But Jesus bucks him up, pushes him to hope.  Strive to enter into the narrow door!  Don’t go along with the crowd.  In 2015 you are not going along with the crowd by going to church.  You are doing something anti-cultural.  Moreover, should a follower of Jesus stop just outside the church, turning on Jesus as he (Jesus) enters?  No indeed.  In these days “normal” is getting coffee and going to brunch on Sundays, taking the kids to soccer.  Don’t be normal!  The poems of Scott and Thomas
LOOK not thou on beauty's charming;

Sit thou still when kings are arming;

Taste not when the wine-cup glistens;

Speak not when the people listens;

Stop thine ear against the singer;
From the red gold keep thy finger;

Vacant heart and hand and eye,

Easy live and quiet die.


Do not go gentle into that dark night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Listen to the poets, they are calling to you! The king is indeed arming, sit not still! (Isaiah 59:17)

Jesus also gives a “carrot” to the man, not just the “stick.”  In the Bible (MT) there are also “many” predicted as going into the kingdom.  See Isaiah 53, how all Israel is saved in Ezekiel, the numberless crowds in Revelation.  We are not to put God in a box.  The Lord is just.  He is the judge that says“Yes” to one and “No” to another.  It may be however that the Lord will say say“Yes” to mankind and “No” to sin and death and the devil!  Don’t limit God’s grace!  It’s not over until it’s over.  The kingdom that you are striving to enter, fighting to enter may be a lot larger than you could ever even have imagined.  Go for it!  Despair not!

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