HANGING BY A THREAD: This chapter opens with the news of two recent tragedies: a massacre (v1) and a tower collapse which killed 18 (v4). Of course the big question then is no different than the question people ask when tragedy strikes today: why does our good God allow bad things to happen. Notice two things about these first 8 verses:
Jesus never directly explains why God allows bad things to happen, nor is that question fully answered anywhere in scripture. It's a legitimate question, and in fact it's asked several times in the Bible, but in God's wisdom, He hasn't given us the explanation we crave. He simply says, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps 46:10) and "my grace is sufficient for you" (2 Cor 12:9).
Jesus shifts the discussion. Yes it's tragic these people died, "But unless you repent, you too will all perish" (v5). He then goes on to tell a parable about a fig tree that is shown grace, but the parable never resolves. We don't find out if the tree goes on to bear fruit or if it's cut down and thrown into the fire. The answer is up to you.
Chapter 13 also includes a parable of the narrow door that leads to salvation, and that we should "make every effort to enter through the narrow door," because the day will come where the door slams shut and all outside will be left outside even though they beg God for entry (v24-25). Jesus goes on to describe an awful, tragic situation punctuated by "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (v28).
Jonathan Edwards (d. 1758) preached a famous sermon entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in which he depicts mankind dangling over a fiery pit by a mere thread. He preached,
There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.
This kind of Puritan hellfire and damnation preaching has fallen out of fashion, but we must not forget that while Jesus was all about peace and love and social justice, His primary message was that the Kingdom of God is immanent and the time is quickly approaching when the thread man is dangling by will be cut and those clinging to it will be cast forever into hell.
Don't finish today's DIG DEEPER post without being sure that you have entered through the narrow door.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: A holy God who offers grace and forgiveness, but who will soon end that offer for all who have rejected it (v25).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Make every effort to enter through the narrow door (v24).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: