April 13, 2012

Luke 13.22-30

He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?"

And he said to them, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and not be able.

"When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us.'

"He will answer you, 'I do not know where you come from.'

"Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.'

"But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'

"There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God-- and you yourself thrust out! Men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first; and some are first who will be last."

1 Comments:

At 10:07 PM, Blogger forrest said...

About "the Afterlife"?

No. The Kingdom of God, at least to the people he's directly talking to, is Israel under God's direct rule and protection.

The traditional meaning of "saved" is along the lines of "not invaded and conquered, raped, murdered, enslaved etc."

Maybe "salvation" had come to mean something different by the 1st Century, but among Jesus' predictions is the fact that the territory of Israel/Judah would be reconquered, devastated-- the Temple destroyed, many people killed or carried off. "Not one stone standing on another."

So, what can it mean to be admitted into "the kingdom of God" under such a prognosis?

We do know that Jesus has been going around reenacting the Messianic banquet which was supposed to be a feature of the establishment of this Kingdom... And telling parables about a King giving a dinner, about the honored guests begging off with excuses-- and the King sending messengers to the streets and villages, inviting the riffraff to come...

The authorities, religious and political, are refusing the invitation. But even foreigners from the end of the Earth are going to come and join in this Kingdom. When the "door is closed"--

When "The Householder" [of the Temple? aka God?] "has risen up and shut the door" [has destroyed that Temple?], these people will have lost the means they knew for approaching God. Indeed, there was "wailing and gnashing of teeth" then. (At which point, interpretations of Judaism which de-emphasized the land and Temple of Israel, which made the study and practice of Torah the main point, were the only ones that worked. Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity, in their varying ways...)

------
and now? We have an invitation: "Knock, and the door will be opened."

That door is within our minds & hearts, and whatever we do, until we knock and enter, is going to fall short of what we're truly called to. [Sounds 'pious'? Yeah, but I think this is how we're meant to read this.]

 

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