The Gospel for the day comes from Luke 13, where Jesus speaks of the narrow door to heaven. Our devotion comes from Meditations on the Gospels: According to His Word.
Hebrews 12:4–24 (25–29)
Read the propers for the day in Lutheran Service Builder.
Jesus speaks of the growth of God’s kingdom. It began in the world as small as a mustard seed, then it grew mightily, spreading from land to land until today it has reached all parts of the globe. And it grows intensively, as the leaven permeates the whole lump of dough, so the Gospel of the Kingdom enters the heart of a sinner and changes it and makes that person a new creation. Although to the world it seems insignificant, the kingdom of God is a mighty force that silently spreads and gradually conquers and changes whole nations.
Next, Jesus warns His hearers to make sure they have entered this Kingdom. Questions like the one put to Jesus here, whether many or few will be saved, should not worry us much. The important question for us is, Am I in God’s kingdom? The gate to the Kingdom is narrow, it is the gate of repentance and faith in the Savior, and it’s easy to miss. It is not safe to delay, because the time is coming when the gate will be shut and the time of grace will be over. While you are living, you may effectively knock at the door of heaven, but beyond the grave it is too late. There is even a chance that people who could have entered the Kingdom at one time are no longer able to do so. God can, as punishment for long and persistent contempt, close the door before death. And there is nothing more awful than the sentence of eternity!
Those who have entered the Kingdom are forever safe. Jesus knew that Herod, with all his power and enmity, could not cut His life one day shorter, and so His Christians know that they may calmly go on their way. No power on earth or in hell can hinder their work or shorten their time as determined for them by God. When their appointed task is done, God will call them to rest.
Hymn is “The Bridegroom Soon Will Call Us” from Six Hymn Improvisations, Set 9 by Kevin Hildebrand © 2014 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Devotion is adapted from Meditations on the Gospels: According to His Word, page 548 © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.