Summary: Jesus at the feast of dedication
33. Who is Jesus?
April 17th, 2010
After doing some traveling and teaching in the region of Judea Jesus returns to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication. While He is teaching in Jerusalem He gets into a little bit of trouble over the issue of His deity. Once again Jesus claims to be God which the Jews didn’t like and so for the second time in His ministry an angry crowd tries to stone Jesus. Jesus escapes to Perea on the east side of the Jordan where the Jews in Jerusalem would not be able to arrest Him because He was in Herod’s territory.
So Jesus travels around the region of Perea teaching about the kingdom of God. He will travel around and teach for about three months before He makes His way back to Jerusalem for Passover. This will be Jesus final trip to Jerusalem. By the time this Passover is done Jesus will be arrested, convicted, and nailed to a cross. Let’s look at Luke 13:22.
Man was created without sin. We lived in a garden paradise made for us to enjoy. Life was wonderful as we were part of the kingdom of God. God is a good and gracious king and in His perfect kingdom there was only one rule. Don’t disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. As citizens of the kingdom of God, Adam and Eve lived in community with God. They got to spend time with Him, talk with Him, and have a relationship with Him. Adam and Eve enjoyed the perfect world God had made. One day they decided to put themselves before God. They thought, certainly it must be fun to be king, God does it well, so we would like to try for ourselves. They disobeyed God and chose to do what they wanted instead of what God commanded. They tried to replace God as king so that they could rule themselves. In so doing they created a new kingdom. This was not the kingdom of God and in this kingdom man could not live in harmony or community with God. This was a world that we made for ourselves.
Everyone of us was born in this new kingdom, outside of the kingdom of God. What we discovered is God is a much better king than we could ever be. As our sin and failures cause constant pain and suffering in our lives we start long for something else, to go back to the world that existed before. We want salvation from the choices we have made. Jesus comes along to offer us hope. He comes to make a way back, so though we rejected God, though we ran out of His kingdom to live in one of our own making, Jesus came to show us the way back. So if we would follow Him, if we would come to Him we might be able to enter in to the kingdom of God once again.
Lk 13:22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Lk 13:23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, Lk 13:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
While Jesus is preaching in Perea someone asks Him about salvation, specifically how many people are going to be saved? What is heaven’s max capacity? This guy is looking to get Jesus opinion on a controversial issue. Jesus turns it around. Don’t worry about how many, worry about who. Jesus has no interest in theoretical ideas. Jesus encourages us to make every effort to enter in through the narrow door.
We spend a lot of time talking about who the ‘in crowd’ consists of. Which religion, which denomination, which churches are close enough to the truth to get saved. Jesus focus is on personal responsibility. Don’t worry about how full heaven is going to be, make sure you have made your reservation.
Don’t worry about how many, worry about who will be saved? With all the religions claiming their door leads to life, that their way is the right one how do we know who is right? Some people say all you need is to be a good person. Treat other people well, pay your taxes, don’t murder anyone and you are in. Some say you just need to believe something, doesn’t matter what so long as you believe it. Others say, it makes no difference at all when you die we all go to a better place. A lot of people hold on to the ideas of pluralism and universalism. That all roads lead to God, that heaven is a party that is open to the public, where anyone of any belief can enter in.