Reading for Wednesday, March 21: Luke 13
Luke begins this next chapter with a discussion of a Jewish massacre at the hands of Pilate. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to teach repentance: “Unless you repent, you too will all perish,” (v3). Jesus seems to be saying, “If these things happen to the innocent, what do you think God will do to the guilty?” As He teaches in the next parable, God has been more than patient with His people. A day of judgment is surely coming.
Judgment continues to permeate this chapter: Jesus heals a disabled woman on the Sabbath and He is immediately put in conflict with the ruler of the synagogue. But this is yet another opportunity for Jesus to shame His critics (v17), revealing their hypocrisy to the people. Jesus preaches in the towns and villages, but His message is striking: “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able,” (v24). Weeping and gnashing of teeth will accompany the great reversal of fortunes when first becomes last and last becomes first in God’s Kingdom. These are pointed comments, directed squarely at the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. But they also speak to us, reminding us of the call of discipleship.
By chapter’s end, Jesus has also taken aim at Herod and Jerusalem itself. His resolve is firm and clear: He will arrive at Jerusalem to suffer, die, and rise again. This is God’s will for Jesus, the singular act by which all humanity will be judged.
Those who receive this Kingdom are likened unto:
– A mustard seed, taking root slowly, growing over time into something wondrous, a blessing to the world.
– Leaven, permeating the whole slowly, until it completes its transformative work.
Jesus calls us to nothing less than all-consuming devotion and Kingdom growth.