Our timeline in the Gospels is rapidly approaching our LORD’s appointment with the Cross. You will notice the enemies of Jesus pressing upon Him, as He withstood the traditions of the Pharisees with the authority of God’s Law and Commandments. Our Scripture reading is Luke 13 and 14, and portions of today’s devotional will be taken from both chapters.
Luke 13 – Shut Out of Heaven
Jesus was making His final journey to Jerusalem, and along the way He taught the people in cities and villages (13:22). One came to Christ and asked, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” Jesus answered the question with an invitation reminiscent of the truths He taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-14). Contrary to the false teachers of our day who suggest there are “many ways” to come to God, the LORD made it clear there is only one way (John 14:6).
Jesus taught, the way to heaven is not the “broad way” (Matthew 7:13-14), but the “strait gate,” that is narrow and without twists and turns (13:24). What or who is the “strait gate” to salvation and eternal life? It is Christ, and Him alone. Jesus said of Himself in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.”
Identifying Himself as “the master of the house” (13:25), Jesus warned the door to salvation is temporal, and when He shuts the door to a man’s heart, there will be no more opportunity to enter into His kingdom (13:25). Tragically, in eternity there will be many who waited too late to turn from their sin and trust Christ. There will be many who were religious in this life, but few who were righteous.
Speaking figuratively, in eternity there will be some that will stand without knocking on the door, and calling to the LORD, saying “open unto us,” but Jesus will say, “I know you not whence ye are” (13:25). Some will boast they fellowshipped with Him, and listened as He taught (13:26); yet, Christ will answer, “I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (13:27). Unlike the patriarchs who believed and will be “in the kingdom of God,” those who waited too late will find their eternal destiny is hell, where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (13:28).
Closing thoughts – Those who listened and followed Jesus as He taught were numbered among the children of Abraham. Though they were the first to be chosen, the citizens of heaven will be from all over the world, as they “shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God” (13:28). So it will be that the “last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last” (13:30).
Luke 14 – A Lesson in Humility
Briefly, we find recorded in Luke 14, “The Parable of a Great Wedding Banquet” (14:7-14), that encouraged humility and cautioned those who were inclined to pride and selfish ambition. A second parable, “The Parable of a Great Supper” (14:15-24), was a portrait of a great banquet where God is the host and invites the righteous to supper. Tragically, those who were first invited (i.e., the proud, self-righteous religious leaders), refused the LORD’s invitation (14:18-21a).
A second invitation was then sent to those who were not first invited, “the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” (14:21). These would have been considered outcasts by the proud Pharisees, and unworthy of the invitation. When the servant announced to His master there was yet room at the his supper, he sent the servant out a third time, and commanded him to go outside the house of Israel to the Gentile nations: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (14:23).
Closing thoughts – Luke 14 concluded with a lesson concerning the cost and qualities of of being a disciple of Christ (14:25-33). The first quality of a disciple is one’s love for Christ is so great, all other loves and relationships pale in comparison (14:26). Also, the disciple’s life is defined by the Cross, a symbol of death and sacrifice (14:27). Finally, two illustrations encourage believers to sit down and count the cost of following Christ (14:28-32), and remind us a sincere disciple forsakes all (14:33).
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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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