READ: Luke 13
THINK: Author and pastor John Piper wrote: “We were made to know and treasure the glory of God above all things. . . . The sun of God’s glory was made to shine at the center of the solar system of our soul. And when it does, all the planets of our life are held in their proper orbit. But when the sun is displaced, everything flies apart. The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all–attracting place at the center. We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. . . . Into the darkness of petty self–preoccupation has shone ‘the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’”
Genuine faith keeps God at the center. When we sin, genuine repentance restores the relationship (vv. 1–9). In the thinking of Jesus’ day (and perhaps in the thinking of some in our own day), people who suffer tragedies must have done something wicked to deserve it. Presented with an example, however, Jesus essentially said that all people are sinners and equally deserving of divine punishment unless they repent. We cannot say that bad things happening show that a person must be especially bad. We are all sinful. Like the fig tree in the parable, we all will be held accountable for our actions.
At present, the kingdom of God (vv. 18–30) is about people’s inner faith. The Lord can take faith as small as a mustard seed and turn it into a huge tree, or faith as small as a bit of yeast and mix it throughout a large batch of dough. Initially small and unimpressive, the mustard seed and bit of yeast will be victorious in the end, just as faith will be. In the future, the kingdom of God will be like a celebratory banquet of the faithful, global in scope but also full of overturned expectations. People who think they should be “in” will turn out to be “out” because they neglected the only banquet invitation that mattered—the “narrow door” of faith in Jesus Christ.
If “God so loved the world” and the kingdom banquet will welcome guests from all over the world, why did Jesus speak of faith as a “narrow door” (v. 24)? Because there is one and only one way to God—belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. No other way will do, no matter how “spiritual” or well intentioned. This truth offends many in our pluralistic age, but it reminds us of the rich necessity of seeing and savoring Jesus Christ.
PRAY: Ask God to help you see, seek, and savor him today. Ask him to help you push out anything that takes his place at the center of your life.