Modeling Jesus in a Messed Up World: Luke 13:22-30

Focus Passage: Luke 13:22-30 (NIV)

 22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

      He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
      “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Read Luke 13:22-30 in context and/or in other translations on!

At the close of our passage for this journal entry, we read something interesting: “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” (v. 30)

What surprises me most about this idea is not what it says, but where we find it. This concept is included as the key point for at least one teaching and parable, but what makes it stand out here is that it is given in connection with those who are saved.

Two possible ideas enter my mind regarding how this verse is placed in the gospel of Luke:

  1. Perhaps this has to do with the timeline of history, and those who live in the last days will be first in Heaven, while those who lived earlier in history will be placed in lesser positions.
  2. Or, perhaps this has to do with those who are the lowest and most neglected places in society, and when they reach heaven (much to the surprise of those who are cast out), they are lifted up into the seats of honor, and the last (or lowest) becomes first in God’s Kingdom.

Of these two ideas, I’m most inclined to be in favor of the second option, but even it has its challenges.

The theme that really stands out to me here is not what “rank” certain people will have, but instead, that Heaven’s culture will be one that is based around service and serving. Those who we might call “great” will only be so because of how much they served others.

With this theme and idea, we arrive at our key point: Through acts of humility and service to others, we are able to model Jesus to a messed up world. We can choose to humble ourselves now, and help others, or have ourselves be humbled later.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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