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The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost C

The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 13:22-30 

“Strive to enter through the narrow door”
(Lk. 13:24)

How narrow is the narrow door? So narrow that it’s but one person wide, Jesus Christ wide. As he says of himself, “I am the door” (Jn. 10:9). He continues, “If anyone enters through me, he will be saved…” And then, in an echo of Psalm 23, Jesus announces that the saved “will come in and go out and find pasture.” The narrow door is but one person wide; it is exactly as wide as you… you and your grave. To follow after Jesus… to enter through the narrow door… is to take up your cross—that is, your death… your death, not in martyrdom, but a dying “in sin” and “to sin.” To go through the narrow door that is Jesus Christ by the means of your death “in sin” is simply taking Jesus at his word when he declares, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself” (Jn. 12:32). Jesus is the narrow door, the port of entry, through which all things are made new, even you. Our death “in sin” and “to sin” is our means of entry. The law kills but the gospel, Jesus Christ, makes alive.

Prayers from one who would prefer to choose the wide and easy door…

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Grant that I am drawn through that narrow door by the authority and power of your revelation to me by your Son. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. As I am drawn through the door which is your Son, Jesus Christ, reveal to me my brothers and sisters who are drawn through as well. Grant that together we are one with the communion of saints. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Make me a little child… a meager sheep of your own fold shepherded by your Son. In being that child… that sheep… give me rest from my burdensome labor and the confidence that I know these things while the wise and understanding do not. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Teach me to seek you for salvation’s sake and to speak you to my neighbors for their salvation’s sake. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. In my knowing of you through your Son, direct my attention away from your glory to the needs of my neighbors and how I can be of use to them. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Protect the Institute of Lutheran Theology from the false, wide, and easy doors so that it would have but one door—that is, Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. As Jesus has chosen to reveal you to me, give me confidence that the hour of his coming, which only you know, will not find me unprepared or asleep. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer. Amen