Jesus and the Kingdom of God

The unit from Luke 12:1 to 13:21 is framed by contrasting references to the “leaven” of the Pharisees and the “leaven” of the kingdom. The Pharisees’ leaven represented their hidden hypocrisy, soon to be exposed. Also, the kingdom of God is hidden at first, like leaven mixed in flour. The three measures of flour leavened can feed more than 100 people. Likewise from inconspicuous origins, the kingdom of God grows to embrace the whole world. (13:20-21)

Luke 13:22-14-35. Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem, followed by crowds to whom he teaches about discipleship and the banquet in the kingdom of God. He continues teaching in towns and villages. Many in the crowd ask him about ‘the world to come’ or ‘eternal life.’ Luke calls it “life in the age to come.” Jesus indirectly contrasts the “few” who will make it with the “many” who are unsuccessful in their attempt to be “saved.” Jesus gives the image of being saved as squeezing through a “narrow door,” which is then locked from the inside by the Lord of the house, meaning Jesus. Despite Jesus’ inclusiveness, “salvation should not be taken for granted” (1 Timothy 2:4). (Luke 13:23-24)

Jesus extends the image of the locked door. It is locked on the inside by the Lord of the house. Those outside are knocking to get inside. Lord, open the door for us, they said and begged. Twice they are rebuffed with the phrase: I do not know where you are from. ..Although they “know” Jesus, they haven’t “acknowledged” him, but rather denied him; now it is their turned to be denied. The words of the Master of the house–“Depart from me, all you who do evil” echo those of the psalmist: “Away from me, all who do evil” (Ps.6:9). The evildoers have missed their chance to repent. (13:25-27)

The excluded will spend their time wailing and grinding their teeth, which is associated with the outer darkness and the fiery furnace of hell. But the saved will enter the kingdom of God, meeting Abraham, the rest of the patriarchs, the prophets, although I think most of us would settle for a relative. (I didn’t put that in the plural because some of us aren’t on speaking terms with our relatives.) I felt my beloved grandmother around me a lot and I thought she might want me to visit her. I was sure she was in heaven or on one of the teaching planets leading to Paradise. So I remote viewed her–that means I went into a deep trance and closed my mind to all distractions. I met her in an orchard with a road that led to a city with pristine white buildings. We sat down by a fountain and talked. She had a dress on similar to those she wore when living. She didn’t say much. I told her I couldn’t see the details of the buildings and she agreed with me–I wasn’t meant to. She didn’t know where my grandfather was, which is no surprise–he was always running around helping other people. Now back to Jesus. He said, “At the banquet some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.” For example, some who are Gentiles will enter into eternal life in the kingdom, whereas some in Israel may be judged unworthy to enter (13:30).

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