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Home arrow Daniel arrow Luke 13:10-35: Do Not Miss the Kingdom
Luke 13:10-35: Do Not Miss the Kingdom Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 July 2013

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The Kingdom of God is not always what we expecct.  When we think of Kingdoms, we normally imagine some fairy-tale Kingdom with large castles and the King seated on a throne surrounded by loyal servants.  But the Kingdom of God is not like that.  Perhaps we think about earthly Kingdoms, where men have political control over a large area through their military might.  Yet, the Kingdom of God is not like that either.  In fact, no other Kingdom can compare to God’s Kingdom.  Because of this, people often miss the Kingdom.

Many people missed the Kingdom even when the King was living on the earth.  Jesus was not the King or Messiah that people expected.  His teaching was not what they expected.  His actions were not what they thought a King should do.  What kind of King hangs out with prostitutes and tax collectors, even calling them to be His followers?  What kind of King heals lepers and talks about giving all your possession away?  What kind of King dies on a criminal’s cross?  Jesus was not the King that people expected and the Kingdom He brought did not meet expectations either.  Thus, for these reasons and more, people missed the King and His Kingdom.  In our passage this morning we see some specific reasons why people missed the Kingdom.  And the sad reality is that people are still missing the Kingdom for some of the same reasons.  So then, what are these reasons?

People miss the Kingdom because they value the wrong things (v. 10-17).

Luke includes another story of Jesus healing on the Sabbath.  The story begins with Luke noting the desperate situation that this woman was in.  Look at verses 10-11.  For eighteen years this woman had been persecuted by a disabling spirit.  It is not that all sickness can be tied directly to demonic activity, but some can, and this woman’s condition was an example of Satan’s oppression manifested through physical suffering.  She was desperate for help and Jesus meets her in her desperation.  Look at verses 12-13.  Jesus shows the woman great compassion.  He calls her over to Him, initiating the action, touches her broken body, which He did not necessarily have to do, and makes her well.  This healing, along with all the others, is a demonstration that the Kingdom has indeed come with Jesus. 

Yet, not all were pleased.  Look at verse 14.  The leader of the synagogue did not want people being healed on the Sabbath.  We are not sure of his motive in this.  Perhaps he was prideful and did not losing the attention of the people.  Perhaps he did not like losing attention to Jesus.  Perhaps he really did think that the Law would forbid such an activity.  Whatever his motive, he tells the people to come on a different day to be healed and reveals his lack of compassion for the woman who was healed.  He could not care less about her.  And Jesus calls him on it.  Look at verses 15-17.  The leader had addressed the synagogue and Jesus addresses all those who would agree with him.  He calls them hypocrites due to the fact that they would help an animal on the Sabbath but did not rejoice in the healing of a daughter of Abraham.  They valued their reputation of ‘keeping the Sabbath’ more than they valued this woman and Jesus rebukes them.

People often miss the Kingdom because they value the wrong things.  This leader and his supporters would do more for an animal on the Sabbath than they would this woman.  People today value political views or certain moral criteria or religious tradition more than they value showing compassion to others.  They may even think that they are in the Kingdom, but they lack the compassion of the King.  They value the wrong things and miss the Kingdom, just like those who missed it that day in the synagogue.

People miss the Kingdom because it starts out insignificantly (v. 18-21)

In light of what happens, Jesus goes on to tell two parables in verses 18-21.  Look at those verses with me.  Jesus knows that many of the religious leaders and those who follow them are missing the Kingdom.  He knows that their rejection of Him might seem to indicate that His mission of bringing the Kingdom is failing.  But such is not the case.  The Kingdom was mean to begin in this way.  It is like a mustard seed, which starts out very small and ends up growing into a tree where birds can nest.  This imagery is taken from the Old Testament where the prophets speak of God’s Kingdom being big enough for even the birds, who represent the Gentiles, to nest in (Ezekiel 17:23, 31:6). 

The Kingdom that Jesus brings will start out small and insignificant but it will expand to all nations, even as we see happening in our own day.  The Kingdom is also like a small bit of leaven that will leaven a large amount of flour.  Just a little bit will permeate the entire batch.  The Kingdom may look insignificant at times, but it will permeate all peoples and all nations.  And when it comes to a man, it will permeate the whole man.  He will be changed from a lover of self and a lover of sin to a lover of the King.  The transformation will be radical and continuous until the return of the King, when it will be complete.  One of my commentator’s summarizes well what Jesus is teaching us about the Kingdom with these parables: “From a small and seemingly insignificant beginning, the kingdom of God grows—at times invisibly and almost imperceptibly—until it reaches all nations with its transforming power.” 1

People often miss the Kingdom due to its seeming insignificance.  It is not what people are expecting when they think about the Kingdom of God, so they end up making it in their own image, which only leads them away from the true thing.  The Kingdom may seem small and insignificant at times, but it will not be that way forever.

People miss the Kingdom because the way is narrow (v. 22-30)

We live in a pluralistic society that says there are many ways to God and to heaven.  People believe that almost everybody will be saved in the end, except for maybe those who are ‘really wicked.’  Is such a belief true?  Will that many people be saved?  Jesus is asked that very question.  Look at verses 22-23.  There was speculation in Jesus’ day about how many would be saved.  Some thought all, or at least most, of the Jews would be saved, while they held little hope for the Gentiles.  So what about Jesus?  What did He think?  Look at verse 24.  Jesus says that the way to salvation is through the narrow door.  Although many may think that they will be able to enter into the Kingdom, the truth is that they will not. 

He illustrates this principle with a parable of sorts in verses 25-30.  Look at those with me.  On the final day, many will assume that they are in the Kingdom.  They will come to the door and seek to enter, but they will be refused.  They will talk about how close they were to Jesus (they heard Him teach and ate meals with Him), but He will say to them: ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from.  Depart from me, all you workers of evil.’  Jesus is saying that it is not enough to know a little about Him or even be close to following Him.  He is once again making it plain that you are either with Him or against Him. 

In those days, many of the Jews simply assumed that they were right with God, that they would have full access to the Kingdom of God.  But Jesus warns them that if they continue to reject Him and live in sin, they will not enter.  Instead they will be cast into a place of punishment.  They will see their fathers (Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and the prophets) entering the Kingdom, but they will not be welcome because they have rejected the only way.  In fact, the Gentiles, those who come from east and west, north and south, will enter the Kingdom.  They, the last, shall be first, while the first, the Jews, will be last.  Jesus is warning those Jews who thought that they were in, those like the synagogue leader and those who listened to him, that if they do not repent and follow Jesus they will be left out.

People often miss the Kingdom because the way is narrow.  They think they are close enough to Jesus to make it in.  They go to Church on occasion.  They could tell you the Gospel story and even some of Jesus’ teaching.  They have even sat at His table and been baptized at a local Church.  They have their name on a role.  But they are not members in the Kingdom.  They have made a horrible assumption, namely that the way is broad that leads to life.  And for this reason, they actually miss the Kingdom. 

People miss the Kingdom because they reject Jesus (v. 31-35)

As Jesus is teaching, a group of Pharisees approach Him with a warning.  Look at verse 31.  Apparently Herod had heard about Jesus and wanted to silence Him.  Some think that the warning of the Pharisees is genuine, while others see it as just another way to get Jesus to stop teaching.  Either way, Jesus is not going to be scarred off by Herod.  Look at His response in verses 32-33.  Jesus is not going to quit healing and teaching and doing what He came to do.  And He is not going to stop His journey to Jerusalem.  He knows what happens in Jerusalem and He knows what is going to happen to Him in Jerusalem.  In fact, He will meet Herod in Jerusalem before His ministry is done.  But He will not turn back.  He must (divine imperative) finish His task and go to Jerusalem.

As Jesus thinks about Jerusalem, He laments over their rejection of the prophets.  Look at verses 34-35.  Many of the prophets who sought to warn the people of Israel were rejected and even killed.  They did not listen to Jeremiah or Zechariah, and Jesus knows that they will not listen to Him either.  A Day will come when they will recognize Him as the King that He is, but that Day will be too late.  So He mourns their unbelief. 

Such a passage highlights the responsibility of men to repent and believe in Jesus.  In fact, all of the reasons that people miss the Kingdom come back to this one: they reject the King.  They do not recognize Him as their Lord and Savior.  They will not humble themselves and believe in His death and resurrection for their sins.  Other reasons will play a factor, but the main reason people miss the Kingdom is because they miss Jesus. 

So what about you?  Have you missed the Kingdom?  Have you repented of your sins and believed in Jesus?  If not, then do so today.  For those of you who have, then be encouraged by what the King teaches us here.  The Kingdom may seem small, but it is growing.  The way may be narrow, but through faith in Him, we will recline at His table.  Many will reject, but not all.  Rejoice and be encouraged that by His grace you have not missed the Kingdom.  Amen.

1 Philip Graham Ryken, Luke Vol. II REC (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2009), p. 30.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Friday, 19 July 2013 )

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