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19 May 2018 — La puerta angosta

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Throughout His ministry, Jesus clarified and expanded His teaching by answering questions that people asked Him (e.g., ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , ; ; ; ; ; , ; , ). On this occasion, the Lord was asked the very provocative question of whether only a few will be saved.
His reply was shocking. Instead of discussing percentages, He declared that many will desire to enter the kingdom but will not be able to do so. Those who do enter will do so with difficulty; they will have to fight their way in through the narrow door. Christ’s perspective goes against the grain of contemporary evangelistic methodology. Unlike His reply, which demonstrates that salvation is very difficult, modern evangelism frequently presents the gospel in ways that make it seem easy.
Much of modern evangelism’s methodology stems from the revival ministry and writings of Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875). Often called “the father of modern revivalism,” Finney was an attorney who became an evangelist after his conversion. He denied that the new birth is a supernatural work of God, and taught that salvation depends solely on the power of man’s will. His ministry utilized pragmatic “new measures,” such as emotionally-charged urging of people to come forward to the “anxious bench” (a forerunner of the modern altar call) and other tactics designed to manipulate people’s wills.
It certainly is not wrong to invite people to come to Christ and embrace the salvation that He offers. Jesus called sinners to repent and enter His kingdom (; ), as did John the Baptist (), and the apostles (; ; ). The reason the church exists is to carry out its mandate to
Mateo 28.19 RVR60
Por tanto, id, y haced discípulos a todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo;
The issue is not whether to invite and even command lost sinners to repent and believe the gospel, but rather how to frame that invitation. This passage is vitally important, because it reveals how the Lord Jesus Christ invited sinners to come to salvation. But before recording that invitation in verses 24–30, Luke described in verses 22–23 the setting in which it took place.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (; cf. ). The issue is not whether to invite and even command lost sinners to repent and believe the gospel, but rather how to frame that invitation. This passage is vitally important, because it reveals how the Lord Jesus Christ invited sinners to come to salvation. But before recording that invitation in verses 24–30, Luke described in verses 22–23 the setting in which it took place.
Lucas 13.22 RVR60
Pasaba Jesús por ciudades y aldeas, enseñando, y encaminándose a Jerusalén.
As the scene opens, Jesus was passing through Judea from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem (a journey Luke records in 9:51–19:27). His death and resurrection were only a matter of months away. As He crisscrossed Judea Jesus was constantly teaching, as He had done throughout His ministry (cf. 4:43; 8:1; ; ; ), because disseminating the truth was foundational. The purpose of all the miracles, signs, and wonders Jesus performed to affirm His deity as the Son sent from the Father was to validate His teaching. The goal of ministry is always to provide the foundation of biblical truth that is essential to salvation, leading to love, service, and worship of God. The constant theme of the Lord’s instruction related to life in His kingdom, the sphere of salvation where God reigns over His people who love, serve, and worship Him (cf. the exposition of 13:18–21 in the previous chapter of this volume).
As the scene opens, Jesus was passing through Judea from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem (a journey Luke records in 9:51–19:27). His death and resurrection were only a matter of months away. As He crisscrossed Judea Jesus was constantly teaching, as He had done throughout His ministry (cf. 4:43; 8:1; ; ; ), because disseminating the truth was foundational. The purpose of all the miracles, signs, and wonders Jesus performed to affirm His deity as the Son sent from the Father was to validate His teaching. The goal of ministry is always to provide the foundation of biblical truth that is essential to salvation, leading to love, service, and worship of God. The constant theme of the Lord’s instruction related to life in His kingdom, the sphere of salvation where God reigns over His people who love, serve, and worship Him (cf. the exposition of 13:18–21 in the previous chapter of this volume).
At some unidentified point along the way during Christ’s ministry in Judea someone posed to Him a provocative question:
Lucas 13.23 RVR60
Y alguien le dijo: Señor, ¿son pocos los que se salvan? Y él les dijo:
Lucas 13:23
The question reflects the recognition of His followers that the point of His teaching related to salvation. The divine work of salvation is not deliverance from unfulfillment, dissatisfaction with life, poverty, or poor self-esteem. Salvation is deliverance from God’s wrath and judgment into safety and eternal blessing through the sacrificial death of His Son.
Romanos 5.9 RVR60
Pues mucho más, estando ya justificados en su sangre, por él seremos salvos de la ira.
“Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” The question reflects the recognition of His followers that the point of His teaching related to salvation. The divine work of salvation is not deliverance from unfulfillment, dissatisfaction with life, poverty, or poor self-esteem. Salvation is deliverance from God’s wrath and judgment into safety and eternal blessing through the sacrificial death of His Son. “Having now been justified by His blood,” Paul wrote, “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (; cf. ; ). The question was whether only a few were to be saved from divine judgment and eternal damnation in hell. It appeared to the questioner to be the case.
The question was whether only a few were to be saved from divine judgment and eternal damnation in hell. It appeared to the questioner to be the case.
“Having now been justified by His blood,” Paul wrote, “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (; cf. ; ). The question was whether only a few were to be saved from divine judgment and eternal damnation in hell. It appeared to the questioner to be the case.
The question was an honest one, asked by a true follower of Christ. Those in the crowds who heard Him ran the gamut from outright enemies to curiosity seekers to the very interested to the genuinely saved believers. What level of interest this individual had in Christ is not known. His question, though, voiced what His followers had to be thinking. The Jewish people expected that when Messiah came, he would be welcomed by the entire nation, which would receive salvation (; ). Messiah would establish his kingdom, in which Israel would play a leading role. In that kingdom the curse will be removed and righteousness and peace will prevail. Gentiles will also be saved () and come to see Messiah reigning in glory on Mount Zion (; ).
But after nearly three years of ministry, countless miracles, unmatched teaching, and crowds of thousands following Him, there were only a disappointingly small number of true believers who believed in Him savingly. So few in number were they that even He referred to them as a “little flock” manada pequeña (; cf. the exposition of 13:18–19 in the previous chapter of this volume). The religious leaders of the nation had rejected Jesus, denouncing Him as being empowered by Satan. Many of the people had bought into that lie and also viewed Jesus’ supernatural power as satanic. Many rejected Him because He did not meet their messianic profile and expectation. In fact, when a large crowd attempted to force Him into their preconceived role of political-military messiah, Jesus refused (). But it was the puzzling conundrum that even among the large numbers who did follow Him very few were genuine believers.
The question, however, overlooks Old Testament history, which reveals that salvation had never been widespread in the past. When God destroyed the sinful pre-flood world, only eight people escaped that divine judgment (; ). From the destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah only Lot and his wife and daughters escaped (). The genuine, believing remnant of Israel was always small (; ; ; ; ), and salvation was always individual (), never national.
The fact that Jesus’ answer did not address the question directly shows that it is not important how many people are being saved; what matters to each person is that he or she be one of them. Instead of responding to the question of quantity, Jesus focused on the quality of true believers’ faith and gave a personal invitation to those present to receive the salvation that He offers. He called for spiritual exertion, temporal desperation, lack of relation, and eternal perception.
MacArthur, J. (2013). (pp. 216–218). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
Body
At a convocation I attended to proclaim the year of ministers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the plenary speakers, Alistair Begg, shared a heartening encounter he had experienced as he was preparing his message. He had risen early and found a restaurant next to Harvard Yard where he planned to apply some “finishing touches.” As he worked, he watched Cambridge wake up, and the restaurant filled up with a variety of weird and wonderful people. Some had slept in the street. Others were apparently regulars. He was out of his element. The university culture was overwhelming, and he felt insignificant. And he began to muse about his insignificance and how foolish the gospel seemed in such a setting. He was feeling small.
But two things that happened encouraged him. When a sparrow pajarillo landed on his table inside the restaurant, he thought of Christ’s words about sparrows. Then he looked across the aisle and saw an Asian girl intently reading what appeared to be a Bible. He watched further and saw that she was indeed studying the Scriptures. So he asked, “I see that you are reading the Bible. Are you a Christian?” She smiled and replied, “Oh yes. I’ve found the narrow way.”
Her answer was remarkable. Neither he nor I in all our years in ministry had ever heard anyone answer like that. In the ensuing conversation she explained that she had come from Korea to study at Harvard, and she was the only Christian in her family. Here was a young Christian woman 10,000 miles away from her Buddhist home (with its three million gods, the antithesis of “the narrow way”) in the midst of Harvard’s aggressive pluralism (which tolerates everything except the narrowness of the gospel) who so profoundly understood her Christian faith that she expressed it with unabashed acumen as “the narrow way.”
As you would expect, my friend Alistair Begg was encouraged that morning to preach the Word—which he did with great effect. This young student understood and had appropriated a kingdom truth that is glossed over by so many, especially if they live in a congenial Christian subculture—namely, the entrance into God’s kingdom is narrow.
Lucas 13.22 RVR60
Pasaba Jesús por ciudades y aldeas, enseñando, y encaminándose a Jerusalén.
Jesus’ setting forth of this truth on the road to Jerusalem was in response to a question from an unnamed person in the crowd:
Jesus’ setting forth of this truth on the road to Jerusalem was in response to a question from an unnamed person in the crowd: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (v. 23). It was a smug, self-complacent question because the general understanding among the Jews was that all Jews except the very worst would be saved. The Mishnah was explicit about this:
Lucas 13.23 RVR60
Y alguien le dijo: Señor, ¿son pocos los que se salvan? Y él les dijo:
It was a smug, self-complacent question because the general understanding among the Jews was that all Jews except the very worst would be saved. The Mishnah was explicit about this:
Jesus’ setting forth of this truth on the road to Jerusalem was in response to a question from an unnamed person in the crowd: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (v. 23). It was a smug, self-complacent question because the general understanding among the Jews was that all Jews except the very worst would be saved. The Mishnah was explicit about this:
“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (v. 23). It was a smug, self-complacent question because the general understanding among the Jews was that all Jews except the very worst would be saved. The Mishnah was explicit about this:
All Israelites have a share in the world to come, for it is written, Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands that I may be glorified. Y tu pueblo, todos ellos serán justos, para siempre heredarán la tierra; renuevos de mi plantío, obra de mis manos, para glorificarme. And these are they that have no share in the world to come: he that says that there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law, and [he that says] that the Law is not from Heaven, and an Epicurean. (Sanhedrin 10.1)
Y tu pueblo, todos ellos serán justos, para siempre heredarán la tierra; renuevos de mi plantío, obra de mis manos, para glorificarme. And these are they that have no share in the world to come: he that says that there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law, and [he that says] that the Law is not from Heaven, and an Epicurean. (Sanhedrin 10.1)
Reina Valera Revisada (1960). (1998). (). Miami: Sociedades Bı́blicas Unidas.And these are they that have no share in the world to come: he that says that there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law, and [he that says] that the Law is not from Heaven, and an Epicurean. (Sanhedrin 10.1)
So when the question rang from the crowd, the hearers expected Jesus to affirm that all Jews would make it through the pearly gates, unless they had committed especially grievous sins like the rebellion of Korah or that of Absalom Absalón. They also thought all Gentiles would be excluded from the kingdom except for a few proselytes who followed the examples of Rahab and Ruth. The question was a presumptive query meant to solidify Jewish feelings of religious superiority.
A NARROW DOOR (V. 24)
Jesus’ regard for the question can be seen in his response, because he really did not answer it but responded with a command:
Lucas 13.24 RVR60
Esforzaos a entrar por la puerta angosta; porque os digo que muchos procurarán entrar, y no podrán.
The Many
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” (v. 24).
The Many
Jesus’ words assaulted their complacency autocomplacencia. “Many [of you Jews] … will try to enter and will not be able to.” “Many,” not “some”—implying that a majority of his hearers would not make it! The Jews’ complacency had drawn a stinging slap, and an uneasiness spread through their hearts.
Jews in Jesus’ day felt privileged to be part of the covenant community. They had the Law, the prophets, the temple. So they assumed salvation was a given. This was fatal thinking. Paul later attacked such presumption in his letter to the Romans:
Romanos 2.17–21 RVR60
He aquí, tú tienes el sobrenombre de judío, y te apoyas en la ley, y te glorías en Dios,y conoces su voluntad, e instruido por la ley apruebas lo mejor,y confías en que eres guía de los ciegos, luz de los que están en tinieblas,instructor de los indoctos, maestro de niños, que tienes en la ley la forma de la ciencia y de la verdad.Tú, pues, que enseñas a otro, ¿no te enseñas a ti mismo? Tú que predicas que no se ha de hurtar, ¿hurtas?
Jesus’ point was, your Jewish privilege had better make a difference or it is all for nothing. Sadly, many did not have personal faith in Christ and so were lost.
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? (2:17–21)
Jesus’ point was, your Jewish privilege had better make a difference or it is all for nothing. Sadly, many did not have personal faith in Christ and so were lost.
Jesus sustained this warning in his kingdom parables—for example, in the Parable of the Soils when the seed fell on three of the four soils in vain. Only the fourth soil yielded believers. The Parable of the Soils taught that many professing “believers” would be lost (cf. ). Likewise, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, the great flock will be divided, and a large contingent of goats will be sent off to eternal punishment (). Privileged presumption characterizes many of the lost in this parable.
Presumption of salvation through privilege continues to delude multitudes in the professing church today. And Jesus’ “many … will try to enter and will not be able to” applies with the same urgency. Jesus does not want to inject false fears into our minds, but he does want us to examine our lives so we will be sure to take the narrow way.
The Narrow Door
Jesus represented the way of salvation as “the narrow door.” This image suggests the moral posture of the person who would strive to enter the kingdom. I. H. Marshall notes that “the imagery is akin to that of a camel passing through the needle’s eye, and suggests the difficulty of facing up to the demands of Jesus in self-denial.” The passage to Heaven is not through the great portal of a palace, but a narrow, low door through which one must humbly squeeze. And after entering, the road remains narrow, as Jesus explained when he preached at another time:
Mateo 7.13–14 RVR60
Entrad por la puerta estrecha; porque ancha es la puerta, y espacioso el camino que lleva a la perdición, y muchos son los que entran por ella; porque estrecha es la puerta, y angosto el camino que lleva a la vida, y pocos son los que la hallan.
Few people are willing to assume the humble posture and to shed what is necessary to get through the gate, and few are willing to tread the narrow road.
Few people are willing to assume the humble posture and to shed what is necessary to get through the gate, and few are willing to tread the narrow road.
The Agony
The Lord’s call to “make every effort to enter” Esforzaos a entrar (v. 24) or “strive to enter” (RSV) is the Greek word agonizomai, from which we get our word agonize. This is the kind of moral effort necessary to enter the kingdom. “We are not saved by effort, but we shall not believe without effort.”
Class,
This week in the discussions we have covered TCO 2.
TCO2:  Given a problem involving percentages, properly convert percentages to decimal or fractional form and vice versa, and evaluate.
Spend a few minutes reflecting on all that you have accomplished this week. Share with the class
1 one thing you understand completely
2 one thing you still do not understand well
As part of my beliefs, I keep the Seventh-day Sabbath holy. Thus, I do not check my E-mail nor login to the class during Sabbath hours.  If you have a tech emergency please contact tech support. Sabbath hours are 7:00 PM ET Friday until 9:30 PM ET Saturday. Also, please do not send a text message during those hours, wait until Saturday night.
Professor Matus (v. 24) or “strive to enter” (RSV) is the Greek word agonizomai, from which we get our word agonize. This is the kind of moral effort necessary to enter the kingdom. “We are not saved by effort, but we shall not believe without effort.”
In light of what is at stake (Heaven or Hell) and in light of the finality of eternity, we cannot strive too much to get through the narrow door. It must be sought with all that we are. The Word must be mined. Prayer ought to be perpetual.
Juan 6.27–29 RVR60
Trabajad, no por la comida que perece, sino por la comida que a vida eterna permanece, la cual el Hijo del Hombre os dará; porque a éste señaló Dios el Padre.Entonces le dijeron: ¿Qué debemos hacer para poner en práctica las obras de Dios?Respondió Jesús y les dijo: Esta es la obra de Dios, que creáis en el que él ha enviado.
We must agonize over being sure to enter the kingdom of God.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” ()
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” ()
We must agonize over being sure to enter the kingdom of God.
A CLOSED DOOR (VV. 25–27)
Closing
There is a time limit on the offer of salvation, as Jesus made so ominously clear:
Lucas 13.25 RVR60
Después que el padre de familia se haya levantado y cerrado la puerta, y estando fuera empecéis a llamar a la puerta, diciendo: Señor, Señor, ábrenos, él respondiendo os dirá: No sé de dónde sois.
[finish at ....llamar a la puerta....]
The gate is open right now. The fact that you can read these words in your mortal flesh means that you can respond if you so wish. But when your body is gone, so will be the opportunity.
Hebreos 9.27 RVR60
Y de la manera que está establecido para los hombres que mueran una sola vez, y después de esto el juicio,
Today you are alive. Therefore the door is still open, though it will not always be.
2 Corintios 6.2 RVR60
Porque dice: En tiempo aceptable te he oído, Y en día de salvación te he socorrido. He aquí ahora el tiempo aceptable; he aquí ahora el día de salvación.
“Man is destined to die once, and after that to face the judgment” (). Today you are alive. Therefore the door is still open, though it will not always be. “Now is the day of salvation” (). If you do not yet know Christ, call to him today!
“Now is the day of salvation” (). If you do not yet know Christ, call to him today!
“Now is the day of salvation” (). If you do not yet know Christ, call to him today!
Slammed
Eventually the narrow door will be slammed shut by either death or the Lord’s return, ushering in eternal tragedy for those who have not entered the kingdom. This fact was portrayed in the prophetic dialogue Jesus then shared:
Lucas 13.25–27 RVR60
Después que el padre de familia se haya levantado y cerrado la puerta, y estando fuera empecéis a llamar a la puerta, diciendo: Señor, Señor, ábrenos, él respondiendo os dirá: No sé de dónde sois. Entonces comenzaréis a decir: Delante de ti hemos comido y bebido, y en nuestras plazas enseñaste. Pero os dirá: Os digo que no sé de dónde sois; apartaos de mí todos vosotros, hacedores de maldad.
[start with …diciendo....]
Two complementary things kept them out of the kingdom. First, they had no personal relationship with the Master. Twice Jesus issued a categorical denial of relationship: “I don’t know you or where you come from.” Os digo que no sé de dónde sois; This is a total denial despite the fact that they argue, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” None of the crowd could persuade Christ to say that their superficial knowledge of him had established a relationship. They were strangers.
“ ‘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!’ ” (vv. 25b–27)
Two complementary things kept them out of the kingdom. First, they had no personal relationship with the Master. Twice Jesus issued a categorical denial of relationship: “I don’t know you or where you come from.” This is a total denial despite the fact that they argue, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” None of the crowd could persuade Christ to say that their superficial knowledge of him had established a relationship. They were strangers.
Some today may argue that they have eaten and drunk with Christ at the Lord’s Table, and they have heard his Word preached in his church. This is all very good, but it does not establish relationship, and some who have never missed the Lord’s Table and the preaching of the Word will hear him say, “I don’t know you or where you come from.” If attendance in the Lord’s house could save a soul, Caiaphas would be in glory. If hearing the Word was enough, Herod would be in Heaven.
Even engaging in ministry does not prove relationship. In the Sermon on the Mount, shortly after Jesus urged his hearers to enter through the narrow gate (, ), he warned:
Mateo 7.21–23 RVR60
No todo el que me dice: Señor, Señor, entrará en el reino de los cielos, sino el que hace la voluntad de mi Padre que está en los cielos. Muchos me dirán en aquel día: Señor, Señor, ¿no profetizamos en tu nombre, y en tu nombre echamos fuera demonios, y en tu nombre hicimos muchos milagros? Y entonces les declararé: Nunca os conocí; apartaos de mí, hacedores de maldad.
We may be preachers and have perhaps ministered to thousands. We may be Sunday school teachers and point many little ones to Christ. We may be missionaries and are held up as paragons of sacrifice, and yet end up as castaways. Why? Because mighty works do not save us, but only vital union with Christ through real faith. So the burning question is, does Christ know you? Are you in authentic relationship with him?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” (7:21–23)
We may be preachers and have perhaps ministered to thousands. We may be Sunday school teachers and point many little ones to Christ. We may be missionaries and are held up as paragons of sacrifice, and yet end up as castaways. Why? Because mighty works do not save us, but only vital union with Christ through real faith. So the burning question is, does Christ know you? Are you in authentic relationship with him?
The corollary question is, has the relationship with Christ that you claim to have turned you away from evil? Are you morally improved from God’s point of view? Or will he say, “Away from me you evildoer!”? apartaos de mí todos vosotros, hacedores de maldad. The telling question is not a matter of ministry or standing in the church but of authentic righteousness.
A CLOSED FEAST (VV. 28–30)
Surprise Exclusion
When Moses encountered God at the burning bush, God identified himself as
Éxodo 3.6 RVR60
Y dijo: Yo soy el Dios de tu padre, Dios de Abraham, Dios de Isaac, y Dios de Jacob. Entonces Moisés cubrió su rostro, porque tuvo miedo de mirar a Dios.
Those men were the progenitors of Israel and representatives of the greatest members of their race. So we can understand how horrifying Jesus’ next sentence was to his hearers:
Lucas 13.28 RVR60
Allí será el llanto y el crujir de dientes, cuando veáis a Abraham, a Isaac, a Jacob y a todos los profetas en el reino de Dios, y vosotros estéis excluidos.
“the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (). Those men were the progenitors of Israel and representatives of the greatest members of their race. So we can understand how horrifying Jesus’ next sentence was to his hearers: “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” (v. 28). “Weeping” indicates sorrow, “gnashing of teeth” fierce rage. Many Israelites would be cast out of glorified Israel!
“Weeping” indicates sorrow, “gnashing of teeth” fierce rage. Many Israelites would be cast out of glorified Israel!
“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” (v. 28). “Weeping” indicates sorrow, “gnashing of teeth” fierce rage. Many Israelites would be cast out of glorified Israel!
Surprise Inclusion
But there was more:
Lucas 13.29 RVR60
Porque vendrán del oriente y del occidente, del norte y del sur, y se sentarán a la mesa en el reino de Dios.
L
Unbelieving Israel will be cast out, but believing Gentiles will sit down with the three patriarchs and the redeemed house of Israel. Because they belong to Christ they are, in Paul’s words,
Gálatas 3.29 RVR60
Y si vosotros sois de Cristo, ciertamente linaje de Abraham sois, y herederos según la promesa.
“People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God” (v. 29). Unbelieving Israel will be cast out, but believing Gentiles will sit down with the three patriarchs and the redeemed house of Israel. Because they belong to Christ they are, in Paul’s words, “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (). And they will not only be there—but they will be joyously feasting!
And they will not only be there—but they will be joyously feasting!
“Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (). And they will not only be there—but they will be joyously feasting!
Eternal Reversal
Who will fellowship at the feast? Evidently the big three, and the prophets, and a bunch of no-name Gentiles, because Jesus concluded,
Lucas 13.30 RVR60
Y he aquí, hay postreros que serán primeros, y primeros que serán postreros.
Because of God’s grace all will receive the same reward, as the parable of the workers in the vineyard makes so clear. The master paid those who worked an hour the same as those who worked all day, answering the day-long workers’ objections by saying:
“Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last” (v. 30). Because of God’s grace all will receive the same reward, as the parable of the workers in the vineyard makes so clear. The master paid those who worked an hour the same as those who worked all day, answering the day-long workers’ objections by saying:
Mateo 20.13–16 RVR60
Él, respondiendo, dijo a uno de ellos: Amigo, no te hago agravio; ¿no conviniste conmigo en un denario?Toma lo que es tuyo, y vete; pero quiero dar a este postrero, como a ti.¿No me es lícito hacer lo que quiero con lo mío? ¿O tienes tú envidia, porque yo soy bueno?Así, los primeros serán postreros, y los postreros, primeros; porque muchos son llamados, mas pocos escogidos.
CLOSING REFLECTIONS
“ ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So [Jesus said] the last will be first, and the first will be last” ().
CLOSING REFLECTIONS
Perhaps you have noticed that this “narrow door” text touches on one of Luke’s grand themes—the universality of the gospel—the good news of salvation for all people, both Jews and Gentiles. Christ’s words teach us that the kingdom is narrower than his Jewish hearers thought because they assumed that all Israel would automatically be included. But Jesus said that many of them would not make it through “the narrow door.” The door’s narrowness demanded humility. It demanded moral determination. Only those who are in relationship with God go through the door. Jesus later explained in his high-priestly prayer,
Juan 17.3 RVR60
Y esta es la vida eterna: que te conozcan a ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien has enviado.
This relationship with God delivered them from evildoing.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (). This relationship with God delivered them from evildoing.
But here is the ultimate beauty—the narrowness of the kingdom has created a kingdom that is broader than we would ever have thought! This is because the narrow way is spiritual and not hereditary, because it is a relationship with God that comes by faith, because it makes men and women new from the inside out, and because it is all by grace.
Consequently, there is hope for you and me. There is hope for all Jews and Gentiles. There is hope for a Korean girl from a family of Buddhists. There is hope for a Hebrew of the Hebrews. There is hope for every shade of suburbanite and city-dweller. The narrow way is wide-open to all.
Have you entered it? If not, Jesus says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.” It is not too late!
Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: that you may know the truth (pp. 94–103). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
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