Readings for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost
Luke 13:22-30; Hebrews 12:4-24; Isaiah 66:18-23
More challenging words from Jesus this week. It seems there will many people on the Last Day who thought they had eternal life, when in fact they do not. Sunday’s readings talk about the nature of God’s Kingdom and who belongs to it.
The Gospel lesson focuses on the narrowness of the Kingdom. Those who have only a casual acquaintance with Jesus but lack faith in him will be shut out. So also those who refuse to repent, but persist in evil behavior. Entrance into the Kingdom is not a matter of personal achievement, but a reliance upon the achievements of Christ. So there will be many in heaven whom we did not expect to see (Lk 13).
The Old Testament lesson focuses on the wideness of the Kingdom. God Himself excludes no one. His invitation to trust him goes out to every nation on earth. In heaven we will see people of every skin color, nationality, and language (Is 66).
The epistle lesson is a word of encouragement to disciples of Jesus going through the tough slog of daily life. We should see our earthly struggles as a form of Fatherly discipline.
He is teaching us to love eternal things (Heb 12).