Third Wednesday of Lent

Psalm 105:1–15, 2 Chronicles 20:1–22, Luke 13:22–31

We often feel powerless in comparison to the world around us. The current pervasive feeling is that normal people do not have a voice in the government that is supposed to be theirs. Many people feel powerless in the face of medical issues, general health issue, job issues, family issues, and so on. It is easy to become overwhelmed by what we cannot do. Embrace the powerlessness.

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Yet, the story of Jehoshaphat is a story of a people, and their king, who recognized their powerlessness in the face of enemies far beyond their ability to deal with. Jehoshaphat embraced his powerlessness. He acknowledged it. He put it before God. God doesn’t always do something miraculous like what happened here. The miraculous is God. The powerlessness is ours. What do we do with our powerlessness? Do we study harder? Work harder? Pray harder?

The multitude of Judah (entire families) publically placed their weakness before God. True humility is often the greatest gift parents and grandparents can give to their children and grandchildren. It wasn’t that long ago that men and women were to hide their paid either behind plastic smiles or stoic faces. Pain, toil, grief, depression, mourning, were all to be hidden, for they were a weakness. The families of Judah had no shame in sharing this. God saved them.

Theirs was collective salvation. When we come to Jesus, there is both collective and personal salvation at stake. In particular, the narrow road and gate are more personal than collective, but the separation between the two is not as clear as we like to think. Think about the opening question regarding the number of people to be saved. That’s the wrong question! In another place in scripture, there is a similar question regarding the requirements to be saved. Again, that’s the wrong question! Actually, that’s the wrong orientation.

Jesus’ intent is heart orientation. If we are always trying to figure out the limits, we aren’t aiming for the heart. Think about marriage. If one marries another, saying what can I get away with and still be married, it doesn’t sound right, does it? Marriage isn’t about our joy, but what we do to make the other happy. A relationship with Jesus is very similar in that regard. While Jesus’ words sound harsh, “get away from me evildoers,” it is that heart orientation: a heart seeking to do evil (what can I get away with), versus a heart seeking to make Jesus happy.

1) Have you ever thought, what can I get away with and still be saved?

2) If you said, “no,” has your behavior matched, “no”, or has your behavior really matched, “yes”?

3) How do powerlessness and the narrow road go together (they do)? What does that tell you about the Christian life/walk?

FD) Why do you think Jesus talks about the door being narrow? Why narrow? Why a door?