Day 152: June 1, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Luke 13:22-30 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Note this: Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.

—Luke 13:30

by Mike Harland, Member of Brentwood Baptist Campus

We live in a world that’s becoming more and more paradoxical. For example, our culture is steadily becoming more spiritually minded but less confident in the Bible as the source for truth related to spirituality.

As a result, we tend to run after the experiences and sensibilities of our fellow travelers to find our way home, instead of following the perfect roadmap laid out for us by the Master Architect of life itself.

In today’s passage, Jesus made a startling statement about how few will find the way to enter His kingdom. In today’s culture of political correctness, His words would offend many and be totally dismissed by most. They’d say, “It’s just too narrow—too dogmatic for our modern enlightened minds.”

Jesus would be sent out of the room of public debate for making a statement like this: “The way to My kingdom is very narrow and most of the religious folks you know won’t make it.”

Ouch. That hurts our sensibilities. 

How many times have you heard something like this? “(Insert good person’s name here) was such a great person. (He/she) was kind and always thought of others. (He/she) was funny and made everyone laugh (as if laughing were the reason for life). I know (he/she) is in heaven right now and looking down on us. We won the game because (he/she) was helping us in the last quarter. I know I have an angel watching over me now.”

That’s the sort of logic our world applies to this subject. If one of us had said what’s in this passage, we could easily dismiss it as more make believe stuff like we hear every day. But it wasn’t just anybody saying this to us—it was Jesus.

And because it’s Him speaking, we’re 100% sure that what He said is true. And what He said was that it wouldn’t be our religious activity or even our reputation that will get us into His kingdom.

The broad way of being a good person won’t work for anyone. The narrow way is through just one door—Jesus. And it’s reserved only for those folks who empty themselves of their religiosity and fall upon the mercy seat of God for His redemption.

Some would call that narrow-minded or intolerant. But I think there’s even a better word for it: true.

Reflection Questions

  1. What do most people around you in your work or neighborhood believe about how to find the kingdom of God?
  2. How does Jesus’ teaching on this subject contradict what most people believe about salvation?
  3. Can you think of other places in scripture where Jesus made similar statements? If we really believe what Jesus said, how does it affect the way we live everyday?
  4. Do you know someone who needs to hear the truth about entering God’s kingdom? Write the name down and start praying for the opportunity to share the truth of the gospel of grace with them soon.

About the Author

Mike Harland

Originally from Corinth, Mississippi, Mike grew up playing sports and his guitar, and writing and singing songs. After he graduated from Delta State University, where he majored in music and played baseball, Mike earned his Master of Church Music degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

For 25 years, Mike served in churches as a worship pastor across Mississippi and Texas. Along the way, songwriting became an important part of his life’s work. His songs have been recorded by Christian artists and arranged for church choirs. He has more than 200 published works that include a number of musicals and collections.

In 2005, LifeWay Christian Resources asked Mike to lead the development of music and worship materials for churches as Director of LifeWay Worship. In this role, he writes songs and articles, and he speaks about worship across the U.S. and around the world.

In 2008, Mike was the Editor of a new hymnal for Baptists. He also co-authored the book and Bible study Seven Words of Worship with Christian Music industry veteran Stan Moser. Later, in 2011, New Orleans Seminary awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mike is married to Teresa and they live in Franklin, Tennessee with their youngest son John. They’ve been members of Brentwood Baptist since 2005.