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"A bystander said, 'Master, will only a few be saved?' He said, 'Whether few or many is none of your business. Put your mind on your life with God. The way to life - to God - is vigorous and requires your total attention...'" Luke 13:22-24 (The Message).
Jesus consistently refused to pander to mere curiosity-seekers. His response to this man's question seems rather rude until we understand what He was saying from His perspective. What would be the point of His self-sacrificial mission to earth if all it produced was people who gathered useless information to satisfy their desire to know about God and not to know God?
Jesus did not come to earth and lay down His life to gather around Him a crowd of freeloaders who have no interest in the meaning and purpose of life in the kingdom of God. There is a tendency today of 'accepting Jesus' as an escape route from hell and a solution to all our problems rather than a commitment to the life-time invitation to become who we are, sons and daughters of the living God.
The life we have been given is an apprenticeship for the life to come. What we do with it now will determine what God does with us in the hereafter. He gives us the choice and then works with us according to the choices we have made. This is not a joy-ride to heaven. It is vigorous and requires our total attention. The Apostle Paul reiterated Jesus' sentiments in Philippians 2:12b,13 - "...Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."
Jesus was constantly referring people back to a consideration of their own lives before God. Those who reported the cruelty of Pilate who murdered worshippers in the sanctuary, were warned they that would suffer a similar fate if they did not repent. If we have any involvement with Jesus of Nazareth, it can only be a personal and lifetime commitment to Him as our Master and Lord.
There is a world of difference between the present-day gospel message which is essentially saying, "Come to Jesus for the forgivesness of your sins so that you can go to heaven when you die," and the message of the apostles who declared, "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ," Acts 2:38 (NIV).
The good news of the kingdom of God was never intended to be an escape route from earth. It is a promise of hope and the renewal of a corrupted earth and a mandate for those who recognise and bow to the Lordship of Jesus, to bring heaven to earth. By living out the life of Jesus in the power of His Spirit here on earth, His Father's benevolent and gracious rule can be extended through His people wherever they are.
God's promise is that every knee will bow to this Jesus whom He has elevated to the highest place and given a name above every name. Even those who refuse to acknowledge Him now will bow, including His arch-enemy, the devil, and that will be their admission of defeat and their self-inflicted removal from the presence of God forever. So, once again, Jesus says to every reader,
'Be warned. You choose....'
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