Today’s read came from Luke 13-18 in which Jesus tells several parables. Jesus tells us there are two types of people: those who will enter the kingdom of heaven, and those who will not. He reminds us that there will come a time when the door to the kingdom will be closed and warns us that the way into the kingdom is narrow. And, sadly, that the number of people who will enter heaven is far fewer than those who will be refused entry because they did not believe.
According to Jesus, why will people miss entering heaven? What prevents them from believing? In 14:16-24, we see that many are invited to the Master’s feast, but other things are more important than responding. Things like possessions, work, career, and relationships take precedence; the busyness of life is more important, and the invitation is refused. In 14:25-35, Jesus shows us that if we are not willing to give up everything, even our own families, we cannot be His disciple, and we will not enter the kingdom. In 13:22-30, Jesus teaches us that the door will be shut one day, and many will beat on the door to gain entrance, but the head of the house will tell them he does not know them. They will claim allegiance, saying “We ate and drank in Your presence and You taught in our streets,” but being “around” Jesus is not the same as surrendering our lives to Him. They will not be allowed to enter the Master’s house.
Jesus also tells us when we will know that the time for the closing of the door is near when He will return and there will no longer be time for choices to be made. He uses two examples: “just as it way in the days of Noah” and “just as it was in the days of Lot.” People will be eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building, with no thought of coming judgment. It will not be a thought in their mind because they are so focused on this world.
What was going on during Noah and Lot’s days? Genesis 6:5 describes Noah’s day: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The culture of Lot’s day? Homosexual rape was so common and accepted in the city streets that Lot would not let two angels spend the night in the open square he was so worried about their safety. And his solution to protecting them was to offer his two daughters to satisfy the lust of the men trying to beat down his door! Sexual perversion was common, accepted. Every thought of men’s hearts was evil. Does that sound anything like our world today?
Jesus wants us to know the truth. He wasn’t telling parables just to entertain the crowd, but to allow those with willing, surrendered hearts to hear. There will be a marriage feast one day, and the door is still open. The invitation is extended, and there is room at the table. I pray you will RSVP.