Every now and then I get to preach on a passage of Scripture that I’ve covered before. This coming Sunday is one of those times, as we will study Luke 13:22-35. Last time it gave me the chance to talk about a guy I’d like to think I know pretty well, Bono, the lead singer of the band U2. At the time, I was preaching the Lectionary texts for Lent. (You can read all about it here. And the follow-up post here.)
I try to read back over those sermons each time I preach them again. If there is material I can use again, I just might, but almost always I find that I need to start from scratch, even if I feel that previous sermon was decent. Technically, last time I only preached on Luke 13:22-30, and this time we’ll add verses 31-35.
Take a look at the passage, as it raises some difficult questions. Luke sets the scene by telling us that Jesus is continuing his preaching and teaching ministry in the towns and villages he passes through as he is on his way to Jerusalem. The crowds are big, no surprise, and on this particular day, a person in the crowd starts a little Q & A with Jesus. The person asks “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
It is a question that comes up often in Jesus’ ministry, and one that people still today ask. Recently a college friend asked this very question.
The answers are varied. Some believe all will be saved. We call that view universalism. It is quite popular as it depicts a gracious, loving, merciful God who can’t let any of his human sons and daughters perish in hell.
Others believe there is no hell.
Still others believe that there is a hell and people will go there. Some views depict God placing people there of his own desire and choice. Others say that humans choose to go there, mostly out of disobedience to God, primarily for failing to believe in him and follow his ways.
What is so interesting to me, as I write this on Christmas Eve, is that tonight at our Christmas Eve Service we will be talking about and celebrating the purpose of Jesus’ birth, and in Luke 13:22-35 Jesus himself, about 30 years into his adulthood, is also talking about his purpose. What does adult Jesus have to say about why he came? What he has to say directly relates to the question of how many will be saved!
As is so often the case, he decides to answer the question from the crowd with a story. A story about a man with a house that has a door. Then he goes on to liken himself to a chicken, and a female chicken at that!
Join us Sunday at Faith Church to hear how Jesus answers the question of how many will be saved!