Those Who Make Themselves First In This Life Will Be Last In the Next, But Those Who Are the Least Among Us Today Will Be First
The Mustard Seed and the Narrow Door
(Luke chapter 13, verses 18–35)
Last week when we left off at verse 17 of Luke chapter 13, Jesus had just healed a woman on the Sabbath, which had enraged the Pharisees, who were the main critics of Christ. Today as we take up where we left off, we continue the ongoing conversation between Jesus, the Pharisees and the rest of the crowd that followed our Lord and Redeemer everywhere he went. Christ the Lord is still speaking as we begin at verse 18:
“Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the Kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.’ Again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the Kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.” (Luke 13, verses 18–22)
Just as humanity started out with one man, Adam, so it becomes reborn with another, Jesus Christ. In this parable, Jesus is talking about himself and his Bride, the Church, a church that anyone can join without qualification. Jesus is the mustard seed that grows into a gigantic tree, the Church. In the next very short parable, the yeast is the Word of God and the flour is humanity. Once God’s Word works its way through us, it causes all of us to rise just as Jesus was raised from the dead. So there is also a nugget of prophecy mixed into this particular dough, which as before represents the Greater Church. And so Jesus went and traveled extensively throughout the region, teaching the people all these things as he made his way towards Jerusalem. And now let’s pick up at verse 23.
“Someone asked him, ‘Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter but will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the…