Bible reading Feb 28: Exodus 11-12:20; Luke 14.
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:11)
Last year my wife and I enjoyed visiting a number of homes built by Frank Lloyd Wright. One of many characteristic features of his buildings was his use of "compression and release". We would walk down a long narrow corridor and then enter into a much larger space, often with a beautiful vista. It was very remarkable!
The Lord Jesus describes his kingdom in similar terms. His coming kingdom will be glorious and global, filling the earth with his righteous reign. But we enter it through "the narrow door" (13:24), like a small gate to a large estate. It is small and unnoticed, like a mustard seed, or leaven in bread dough.
In Luke 14 he describes his kingdom as a great wedding feast, like a banquet put on by royalty. But the invitation is one that is easily neglected in the press of daily life. It can be crowded out by otherwise legitimate activities. Our pride and honor (14:1-10), and the importance of our own activities (14:16-24), can blind us to the greatness of the kingdom invitation. Buying a piece of property, or trying out new equipment for work, or being newly married, seems to be a legitimate excuse for ignoring this invitation. And so it will be the poor and the disabled, those who have no such business with which to occupy themselves, who will attend the banquet. In fact, it seems no one would attend if it were not for divine compelling (14:23).
A narrow door to a great kingdom. A small gate to a magnificent estate. An easily-dismissed invitation to an extravagant banquet. It seems by nature we are so self-absorbed that we do not see the glory of what the invitation means!
So, our Lord presses the importance of humbling ourselves and putting him first (14:25-35). To "hate" our family is a Semitic way of saying we must love Christ supremely (14:26). To "bear our cross" is to identify with Christ in the reproach he receives from the world (14:27). All other allegiances must be left behind. When it comes to Christ's kingdom the priority of family, possessions, and even our very life, must be laid aside. King Jesus must come first.
It's humbling. It's a very narrow door. A humble little gate. Like a restricting, compressing, tight passageway. But, oh, what a banquet, what glory, what beauty, what joy, ...what a kingdom awaits those who follow the Lord Jesus!
Have you accepted his invitation?
In tomorrow's post I'll write about the Passover (Exodus 11-12).
Image above is a drawing of a little wicket gate, artist unknown.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.