Daily Readings and Thought for March 22nd. “LORD, WILL THOSE WHO ARE SAVED BE FEW?”


Chapters 13 & 14 that we read today in Luke’s Gospel repeat in several ways, the ‘picture’ that – following in the footsteps of Jesus requires a special perception on the meaning of our lives – the need to see it from God’s point of view.  But how many dedicate their minds to doing this, especially those who think they believe in Jesus?

The first step in doing this is a sense of awed humility.  How immeasurably great is the being that caused all that exists – to exist.  

Some of those listening to Jesus thought that all misfortunes were caused by God as a punishment for sin.  A tower had collapsed and killed 18 people and Jesus said, “those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think they were worse offenders than all the others … No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  [13 v,4,5]  We notice that he uses the word “perish” and not “asleep in Jesus” which is how the cessation of mortal life of true believers is described. (see 1 Thess. 4 v.13,14; John 11 v.11-13)

As Jesus “went on his way through towns and villages teaching … someone said to him, ‘Lord, will those who are saved be few?’” [v,22,23]   As always, Jesus does not give a straight  ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. He says, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.  For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” [v.24].  This relates to the “broad way” which the masses find it easy to travel (see Matt 7 v.13). 

The time will come, we read in Luke, when they will “knock at the door saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then 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.’” [v.25,26]  The parallel to this in our days could be to say, ‘We had a Bible in our house and we did go to church most Sundays.’

In Ch. 14 we read the challenge of Jesus when “great crowds accompanied him, he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciple’”  [v.25,26] The Saviour sees our lives in two absolutes – love or hate – useful salt, or useless salt. (see v.34,35) A thing is either good and useful or it is of no value to our Lord, because it cannot be used in any effective way. So, will “those who are saved be few?”  

Verses 16 to 24 contain a fascinating parable Jesus spoke in response to a statement “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” [v.15]   This parable illustrates that those with the right attitude of mind are being sought for God’s kingdom – and the final request to the servants is, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” [v.23] There is good reason to see this as happening now with God’s word being available in every language; only last week we heard and saw Facebook images of a ‘Bible Week’ taking place in Africa and the Phillipines given mostly in their own language.

But the climax to all our thoughts is to turn the focus back on ourselves and ask, what am I doing so that I will be among the few that are saved?’ Having an awed sense of humility lays the foundation for this  and prayerful Bible reading and meditation is one of the greatest ways forward to increase the firmness with which we hold “the plough” [see Luke 9 v.62]

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