A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF LUKE

Enter by the Narrow Door

Luke 13 SCC 5/13/16

 

GODS KINGDOM SAYS REPENTING IS ONLY WAY TO AVOID SPIRITUAL TRAGEDY

Without repentance oneís fate is eternal death 1-5

Verse 1: Someone in the crowd brought up a news item for Jesus to comment onóPilateís execution of some Galileans. But an opportunity for political commentary becomes an occasion for spiritual reflection as Jesus uses a contemporary event to explain spiritual truth.

Verse 2-3: Jesus used the report to say all Galileans, like all people everywhere, are sinful, deserving death, and in need of repentance, irrespective of whether some were worse than others. Worse sin was not the cause of this tragedy. However, it is imperative that everyone repent to avoid a greater tragedy.

Verse 4-5: Another contemporary tragedy Jesus commented upon was a tower that had fallen on some Judeans killing eighteen. Some thought that these people were being punished. Jesus said again, I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Itís a good idea to relate our teaching to the current events in the news which people are talking about.

NB: Bad things or events, like floods, hurricanes, earth quakes, etc. should not be considered a judgment on bad people. After a natural disaster someone, usually a TV preacher, says something about it being Godís judgment like the New Orleans Katrina hurricane. Jesus said you should not say that. We do not know what God is doing in those situations (Ecc 3:11). What we know is unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Christlikeness focuses on one who has repented.

 

God patiently waits but eventually times runs out to repent 6-9

Verse 6-7: The unfruitful fig tree pictures the nation and portrays Israel as not having borne any spiritual produce for some time. The fig tree the man wants to cut down represented Israel and the point is why should it not be removed? Itís just taking up space and siphoning resources.

Verse 8-9: A plea to wait one more year represented their opportunity to receive Jesus as the Christ. This showed how God is longsuffering and merciful but finally brings about judgment. The additional care given suggest Godís patience and alludes to the short time left for response The tree will remain if there is a favorable response. But if failure, it will be cut down. The point is that the time left to repent is short and the prospect of their doing so is not good. So far the trend is toward failure based on response to Christ

NB: God is patient but the clock will tick only so long before the nation will lose its current opportunity to respond. Peter says, God is not willing that any will perish but that all will come to repentance. That is still true. But sadly, many will not repent.

 

SERVING PEOPLE NOT TRADITIONS IS THE PRIORITY OF GODíS KINGDOM

Verse 10-13: On the Sabbath Jesus entered a synagogue in a village of Judea and healed a woman who had been bent double for eighteen years. She was made straight by God. Her long ordeal was over. The woman began glorifying God.

Verse 14-15: But the synagogue official said that six days was sufficient for working and heal while on the Sabbath there should be none. Jesus should wait until Sunday to heal and he told the synagogue crowd so. Jesus had clearly broken the Sabbath tradition. It was not necessary to heal her then. He could have waited until Sunday and not offended the Pharisees or broke Jewish tradition.

Verse 16-17: Christ responded to the woman with the need not the traditionalists with the law. Jesus pointed out that he was a hypocrite. This also raised the issue of how an animal can fare better than a human on Sabbath. Showing compassion to animals but not to humans is an attitude that is a reversal of the created order and on a sacred day no less. What better day to reflect on Godís activity than on Sabbath? Then Luke added, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing.

NB: We should serve people not traditions. We should serve people, and traditions can get in the way of that. No one can sit on the fence and watch Jesus work without forming an opinion. One must be sensitive to what god is doing.

 

GODS KINGDOM GROWS WITH A FEW WHILE MANY WILL MISS IT

Godís kingdom will grow and expand over time 18-21

††††††††††† Both parables of the mustard seed and leaven were apparently taught in that synagogue right after the woman was healed. The point is that the kingdom of God starts small, almost unnoticed. By the 300s Christianity had taken the Roman Empire. The apostles never organized large meetings and neither did the second century Church. But the kingdom grows and spreads to something available to the gentiles. Notice leaven, which is usually something bad, is here the kingdom of God. So Jesus gave two illustrations about the kingdom of God. It starts small and unnoticed (like mustard seeds and leaven), then by itself it penetrates and dominates. The kingdom will end up with significant stature and will be a place where people of all races can reside.

NB: We should plant the truth of the kingdom of God and watch it grow. The parables teach that the kingdom of God grows by itself, and we really donít understand how it does that. So we should trust God in the way He is developing His kingdom. It will eventually penetrate the entire earth. There may be opposition now, but that will never stop the kingdom from covering the entire world.

 

Many will miss out on entering Godís kingdom 22-30

Verse 22-24: Jesus was asked if only a few are being saved. This is a good question for then and now, since their religious gatherings were full of people just like ours. Jesus said there is only a narrow gate that only a few will find. Jesus answered in the affirmative with this narrow door statement. The point is, Jesus is the narrow door into the heavenly kingdom of God and only a few will find it.

Verse 25-28: But even that door will not be open forever. Many who thought they were inside will find themselves outside. At their death or at the Second Coming of Christ, even that narrow door will no longer be open. At that time, they will realize that many gentiles will be with the Jewish fathers while they the unbelieving Jews will be thrown out into that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Verse 29-30: Those entering the kingdom will come from everywhere; east, west, north, and south v 29. Then v 30, who is last is first [and] who is first is last not referring to the least but chronologically last. So this is not about importance on earth but that the Jews, the people God called first, will be the last to be resurrected (at the Second Coming of Christ) and the church, who comes last, will be first to be resurrected (at the rapture). So many gentiles will be let in while many Jews will remain outside v 30.

NB: Access into Godís kingdom after a certain point becomes impossible. There comes a point when a response is too late. Just observing his ministry as the Jews did is no means of entry. Without a response there is no entry. Jesus never offered the Kingdom of God to the masses. He never assumed the majority would believe Him, or even understand Him. But Jesus spoke to those few who were called by God to be in His Kingdom, and Jesus was the only narrow door into that kingdom (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

 

THE MESSAGE OF GODS KINGDOM DOES NOT CHANGE NO MATTER THE PRESSURE

Verse 31-32: Jesus now began making His way back toward Jerusalem again, even though He was told Herod wants to kill him. Jesus refuses to cower at the prospect of death. Jesusí response to Herod is that He will accomplish His goal and there is nothing Herod can do about it. Amen!

Verse 33-35: Jesus said to tell Herod (ďthat foxĒ), that destroyer, that Jesus would complete His mission which would terminate in Jerusalem. Jesus defines his mission in terms of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is his destiny. Then He emphasized Godís concern for Jerusalem in the midst of its rebellion. The city represents the nation. Israel is in peril. Political figures do not change anything God is planning.His cry to Jerusalem is your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ĎBlessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!

NB: Christ like leadership does not change its message or mission for the threatening authorities. Jesusí message to Herod was that He (Jesus) would complete His mission but not talk to Herod.

 

SO WHAT?

1. Getting into Godís kingdom is by repenting which is a narrow entrance a few will take and many will refuse.

2. Preparing for the Kingdom one has entered is the priority of Christ and the apostles for all believers.