Only Jesus can remove the burdens preventing our entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom - forgiving and redeeming us by taking our sins and alienation from God from our back to His Own back on the cross. There is no other entrance to The eternal Kingdom.
Then like that camel crawling through on its knees, we enter God’s eternal Kingdom when we prayerfully follow Jesus. It is a very narrow door – but there’s an eternal Kingdom inside.
The first verse of our text this morning gives us a pretty good outline of how God came as The Christ to open the door to His eternal Kingdom for us. Jesus went actively pursuing His Mission.
Jesus went a long way to open that door. Speaking through The Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John, God describes the beginning of that journey – In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God.And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word which in the beginningcreated an entire universe and then created us in His Own Image - The Word which throughout all of temporal history has spoken to enlighten us how to live temporally and eternally in the relationship God has created for us - The Word which is for us Life itself and which shines with such enlightenment that any person choosing to live in and promote darknesscannot overcome the Light. That Word was and is God Himself.
That Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of Grace and Truth.
God went from the glory and splendor of heaven to the created universe and dwelt among us as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ - Christ Jesus, Who, being in His very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (PHILIPPIANS 2:6—8) Jesus went from heaven to earth - from His Divinity to our humanity.
Jesus went through the cities and villages wherever there were groups of people Jesus brought Himself, His Love, His Forgiveness and His Message to the cities and villages - to the places where people lived and worked and worshiped - telling and showing everyone the meaning of life and explaining how God calls us to live our God-given lives
Jesus - truly God and truly human - was the perfect Teacher. He taught with an Authority many in His day confessed to be far greater than even that of the scribes and Pharisees. Of course, He did. Is Jesus not God as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ? Did not the words He spoke come with the Knowledge and Authority of God?
He taught with the entire way He lived His entire human life.
Jesus was the perfect human being - tempted by Satan as all human beings are - but never yielding to the tempter - never, for even an instant, sinning.
In His SERMON ON THE MOUNT, Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." (MATTHEW 5:17-18)
Jesus The Perfect Teacher was quite explicit about His view of God's Law. He did not come to abolish it or to change it. He came to live it perfectly and to teach it perfectly – Jesus came teaching as the perfect Model of the godly life, journeying toward Jerusalem, Focusing on the end of His journey as the flesh and blood Christ giving His very Life for us on the cross.
And Jesus came to fulfill the Prophets as well. Through the prophets, God promised to come among us to obtain our Salvation and, in Christ, God fulfilled that Promise as well. Showing Divine Love, Forgiveness and Faithfulness in every aspect of His life with every breath He took and journeying toward Jerusalem and the cross that awaited Him there.
If we could perfectly model our lives following Jesus as The Perfect Example of how God created us in His Own Image to live our human lives, the Perfect Eternal Relationship God established with us from the beginning would be in tact. Obviously, all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (ROMANS 3:23) We are all lost and condemned.
So, Jesus - the Perfect Model of the godly life – was journeying to Jerusalem to offer His perfect human life on the cross as the Perfect and Only Possible Sacrifice for our sin. "Since all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, we are now justified by God's Grace as a Gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."(ROMANS 3:23-24)
Jesus’ narrowly focused quest on our behalf was the greatest quest in all of human history — and the path to its fulfillment had to be the very narrowest of paths. Jesus provides our only entrance into His Kingdom as we are justified by God's Grace as a Gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ quest on our behalf lovingly and faithfully carried Him through the narrowest of gates — through the cross and tomb. It was His path freely chosen and taken by our Saviour — and it was and is the only gate to our eternal Salvation.
As Jesus went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem on His narrow path to our Salvation, someone asked Him “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
Well, for the record, Jesus does not answer that question — not here in this text — not anywhere. Instead Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
Like that camel entering through the eye of a needle, we need Jesus to first remove everything we are carrying on our back – forgiving and redeeming us by taking our sins and alienation from God from our back to His Own back on the cross. And we need to get down on our knees to fit through the narrow doorway and prayerfully follow Jesus.
Jesus warns “Enter by the narrow gate”. We know The Son of God Who rules the eternal Kingdom has adopted us into His eternal Family. With His holy and precious blood — His innocent suffering and death — Jesus has gained forgiveness, reconciliation and citizenship in the eternal Kingdom of God for us. There is no other way. “Enter by the narrow gate” which Jesus opens for us and reveals to us through God’s Holy Word.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS — OUR LORD AND OUR SAVIOUR —
GOD’S WORD MADE FLESH AND OUR ONLY GATE TO SALVATION. AMEN.
15th Sunday of The Trinity Season
September 2, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio