Whose Will Be Done?

Posted: June 18, 2017 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 13:31-35, “Whose Will Be Done?”

It is the most famous prayer in the Bible – the pattern Jesus gave His disciples (and us) regarding how to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom & the power & the glory forever, amen.”  It is the third request that stands out in regards to our text: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Why would this need to be prayed?  Is there ever a time when God’s will is not done?  As the sovereign Lord over all the universe, doesn’t He always see His will accomplished?

Yes and no.  Yes, God is absolutely sovereign, and anything that happens within this created universe is something that happened if not by the direct will of God, then certainly allowed by Him permissively.  But it is that idea of permission that makes us pause.  There are certain things that God allows that He does not desire.  He does not desire sin, but allows it in the course of the exercise of our free will.  He does not desire that any would perish, but obviously some do – this is something God permits because He permits humans to have freedom of choice.  Thus although nothing happens apart from God’s sovereignty, some things do happen apart from His express desires.

This is seen in our text as Luke finishes out Chapter 13.  God the Father has a prescribed will & plan for Jesus, and Jesus steadfastly obeys it to the end, despite any difficulties along the way.  God also has a desire to save His people from destruction, but His people desire something else: rebellion.  Their will comes in conflict with God’s will, and in the end, God allows them their choice.

We see the same thing today.  Jesus’ clear invitation is for all of humanity to come to Him & be saved, yet many are unwilling to do so.  He will draw, woo, invite – but He won’t force them.  He will allow them their choice, and that choice lasts into eternity.  Even from the perspective of born-again believers, we are eternally saved (praise God!), but there are times that we still choose rebellion.  God graciously and lovingly warns us away from certain choices, knowing the consequences that will come – but He will still allow us to make them.  At that point, we’re unable to blame God for the results that follow, as much it might cause us pain to endure them.

Contextually, remember that Jesus had pointed out the sin (leaven) of the Pharisees, labeling it as hypocrisy.  That specific criticism was seen in-action, as a woman enslaved by disease was criticized for being healed by Jesus on the Sabbath Day.  The legalistic religious leaders were unable to look past the ends of their own noses to not only have compassion upon those around them, but to discern the Messiah right in front of them.  Earlier, Jesus had warned the people of the reality of a future judgment, and in His teachings regarding the kingdom, let them know they were not ready for that judgment.  Many of them had already rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and as a result, they would be left out of God’s kingdom.  The kingdom would come in unexpected ways, doing unexpected things among unexpected people – and many of the Jews themselves would not be there.

No doubt this caused some waves among the people (especially the religious rulers), and they were anxious to see Jesus move along.  They shouldn’t have been too eager.  For some of them, this was their last opportunity to see Jesus for themselves, and possibly their last opportunity to be saved.  They were rejecting Jesus, and thus rejecting the will of God.

Don’t be one who rejects the will of God.  God’s will is that you be saved through Jesus Christ.  May our wills be submitted to His loving will for us.  Don’t be one who rejects Jesus – He is willing to save!

Luke 13:31–35

  • Jesus’ resolve (31-33)

31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”

  • When did it take place? “On that very day,” or according to the oldest manuscripts, “in that same hour.”  Luke doesn’t always give a timeframe for the chronology between events, but he does here – and it is very specific!  The very same hour that Jesus spoke of the need for people to strive to enter through the narrow gate of the kingdom – the moments following Jesus’ clear warning that many of the Jews would be told to depart from the presence of God, even while calling out “Lord, Lord,” – that was the time that “some Pharisees” came forward with this warning.  It seems curious at the least, if not downright suspicious.  Why would the Pharisees bring a warning to Jesus about “Herod”?  Although some Pharisees had a secret faith in Jesus (i.e. Nicodemus), Luke has not shown them.  Most recently, the Pharisees had been shown openly opposing Jesus, and had been condemned by them.  The source of this warning & the timing of this warning calls the whole thing into question.  Was it sincere?  Or was it an attempt at intimidation, or at least a last-ditch effort just to move Jesus out of town?  The things Jesus had been saying had obviously been sobering, and it probably shook some of the locals to their core.  They needed this Guy gone – they couldn’t afford to have Him around!
    • It’s one thing to personally reject Jesus, despite the good news of His offer of salvation.  It’s foolish (to be sure!), but at least it’s your own choice.  It’s another thing to try to cause others to reject Him, to shut up their ears to the gospel.  In essence, that was one of the outcomes of this seeming-warning.  If Jesus was gone, the people in town would no longer hear Him.  Just as Jesus had condemned the religious lawyers of taking away the key of knowledge & standing in the way of those desiring to enter the kingdom (Lk 11:52), so had these Pharisees done in this town.
    • This same sort of thing has been routinely done all around the world, as dominant cultures have persecuted Christians, running them out of town, throwing them in jail, etc., all in their attempts to shut down the spread of the gospel.  And it has begun to spread even in our own culture.  Atheist legal groups actively look for cities in which to bring lawsuits regarding the so-called separation of church & state.  Others try to intimidate Christian business owners to deny Biblical convictions and give their artistic services to anti-Christian or anti-Biblical events.  For these groups, freedom of religion is limited to the practice of worship within the doors of a church building, never to be brought outside to the public square.  It’s no different than the actions of the Pharisees.  It’s an attempt to shut down the message of the gospel & stand in the way of those who would hear the good news of Christ.
    • That’s the reality – but we also have a great example of how to deal with that reality: the resolve of our Lord Jesus, which is demonstrated in a couple of verses.
  • Why would “Herod” be the subject of the warning?  The last reference to Herod was in Chapter 9: Luke 9:7–9, "(7) Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, (8) and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. (9) Herod said, “John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?” So he sought to see Him."  Herod Antipas had been curious regarding the ministry of Jesus for quite some time, and probably fearful of retribution for the way John the Baptist had been treated.  Later, after Jesus’ arrest, Luke is the only gospel writer to show the interaction between Jesus and Herod, who seemed to delight at having Jesus finally in front of him.  Whatever the motive (which is unsaid), the facts of what was told Jesus were likely true.  It seems probable that Herod did want to kill Jesus.  This was his true desire, or “will” towards the Son of God.  For all of the conflict that will soon be seen between the will of God & the will of the Jews in Jerusalem, the first instance that the word for “will” is used is right here.  Herod’s will was to kill Jesus.
    • Although many people rebel against God’s will, and other people miss God’s will, some people actively wish to overthrow God with their own will.  They hate God, despising the idea that there may come a day that they will be held accountable by an all-perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator.  Their dislike of it doesn’t change the fact.  All people will stand before God and be judged.  All sin will be brought to light, and all sin has the wage of death, leaving each and every man & woman condemned.
    • The good news is that Jesus offers to save us from that judgment!  He has taken our condemnation upon Himself when He died for us at the cross.  The very message that some people try to shut down is the same message that would save them, if they only believed!  (You can believe, too!)
  • If all of this was said to intimidate Jesus, did it work?  Nope.  It’s impossible to throw the Son of God off His game!  Vs. 32…

32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’

  • Jesus is unafraid.  “Go, tell that fox…”  The Pharisees throwing around the name of a power-hungry murderous dictator is not enough to intimidate Jesus.  The Son of God is not easily cowed!  In the grand scheme of things, Herod wasn’t even all that important, as Jesus implied by calling him “that fox.”  Foxes are typically thought of as cunning & sly (and Herod certainly fits that description), but among the Hebrews foxes were also thought of as insignificant.  Remember the insult of Tobiah the Ammonite towards Nehemiah as the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt: the wall of the city was so weak that even a little fox running on it would cause it to fall. (Neh 4:3)  Here, it is Herod who is that tiny, insignificant fox.  The Romans may have allowed him the title of “king,” but he was nothing compared to the true King of the Jews!
    • By telling the Pharisees to “go” and tell this to Herod, Jesus seems to imply a bit of collusion between them & Herod.  Were the Pharisees really all that fearful of this king?  Did they really desire Jesus’ safety?  If they really knew Herod’s secret will & desires concerning Jesus, they must have had a way of finding out.  They could go back to their co-conspirator and tell him that their plan had failed.
    • God isn’t going to be intimidated, and He can never be fooled. 
  • Jesus was busy doing the work of God.  He was actively engaged in ministry, and He wasn’t going to stop what He was going to get out of town & go on the lamb (so to speak).  He was casting out “demons” and performing healing “cures” – a combination of which was recently seen with the woman earlier in Chapter 13, whom Jesus healed on the Sabbath day.  She was physically bent over with her disease, and Jesus recognized it as a bond of Satan. (Lk 13:16)  Jesus’ work was necessary in the present time (“today”) and would continue for as long as it was necessary (“tomorrow”).  He was ministering to people both spiritually and physically, and He wouldn’t stop until the time had come for it to be completed.  If Herod or the Pharisees didn’t like it, Jesus didn’t care.  He had a job to do, and He was going to see it done.
    • Christian: praise God for the tenacity of Christ Jesus!  He never stops until a work is complete.  When you put your faith in Jesus, asking Him to forgive you of your sin and to become your Lord & Savior, Jesus began a work in your life right then & there.  When will He stop?  He won’t – not until it is complete.  Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;"  You may consider yourself a work-in-progress (as we all are!), but don’t get discouraged…the work isn’t done.  Some parts are done: you are fully saved, eternally secure, fully made a child of God, etc., but some parts are not yet complete.  We are constantly being transformed from the inside out, continually conformed to the image of Christ, gradually changing our desires from the things of the world to the things of God.  If you are in Christ, Jesus has not only done a work in you; He is doing a work.  And He will see it through!
  • Jesus was focused upon the work of God yet to be done.  Although the near future would have Jesus continuing His spiritual and physical ministry among the people, there was soon coming a day when that time would come to completion, and Jesus would “be perfected.”  The KJV & NKJV do a far better job of translating this than NASB, NIV & others that render this “I will reach My goal.”  Although the idea of completion is accurate, the voice is not.  The Greek verb is clearly in a passive voice, meaning that this is an action performed on the speaker; not by the speaker.  “I am eating” is active; “I am being eaten” is passive.  Big difference!  (Sounds like a Jurassic Park movie! J)  Yes, there was a goal that Jesus was striving towards, but there was more in mind than just a completed schedule.  There was something that would happen to Jesus that would itself be the culmination to His ministry: the resurrection.  It does not seem to be by accident that Jesus relates this to the “third” day, even though the “today and tomorrow” were not literal chronological days.  (After all, Jesus was not ascending to heaven prior to week’s end!)  On the third day following the cross, Jesus was raised from the dead, perfecting the entire work He had eternally planned to accomplish.  This was the perfect, prescribed will of God, and nothing would get in the way of it being done.
    • God’s perfect will is always perfectly accomplished.  One of the things we see in this text is the difference between God’s perfect will & God’s permissive will.  His permissive will is demonstrated in the Jewish rejection of Jesus and the prophets, but His perfect will is seen in Jesus’ journey to the cross & resurrection.  There was not a single obstacle that Satan could throw at Jesus to stop this from being accomplished.  It would happen, and it would happen exactly the way as God desired.  That’s the way things work with God’s perfect will, whereas in His permissive will, people can get in the way (as we’ll see).  The question for us is often: how can we know if something is God’s perfect will or His permissive will?  Apart from the clear direction of Scripture, we can’t – but it does show us a difference.  To declare that all things are God’s perfect prescribed will is to make God the author of evil.  It is to relegate ourselves to determinism & fate, declaring that all of our choices are nothing more than illusion, that we are nothing but pawns in a predetermined universe.
    • Is God sovereign?  Yes!  Without a doubt, yes!  Not a single sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of our heavenly Father. (Mt 10:29)  There is not a moment in eternal past or future that God has not foreseen nor superintended.  His desire is supreme, and what He declares to be done will always be fully accomplished.  But heaven forbid that we would hold up His sovereignty as an excuse for our evil behavior – that we would relieve ourselves of our personal responsibilities, making Him the author of our rebellion.  How careful we need to be not to hold up one aspect of God’s character to the exclusion of all others!
  • Bottom line: Jesus was resolved.  Vs. 33…

33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

  • No matter what difficulties, rejection, and persecution may exist (real or imagined), it would not dissuade Jesus from what He came to do.  He “must journey.”  Why must He?  Because it was part of the eternal plan of God.  Again, this was God’s prescribed, perfect will for Jesus, and Jesus had to do it.  It was necessary for Jesus to accomplish it, and He would see it done. 
  • How long would Jesus need to do it?  As long as it took.  “Today, tomorrow, and the day following.”  Again, He isn’t using literal numbers of days here.  Chronologically speaking, Jesus had not even arrived in Jerusalem in His triumphal entry, and there were at least 7 days that followed that point.  The whole idea Jesus is portraying is that of faithfulness.  Jesus would journey & keep journeying – He would keep on ministering for as long as it took, because that was what the Father had given Him to do.
  • Besides, if the Pharisees were really all that concerned for Jesus’ well-being, they shouldn’t be urging Him on to the most dangerous city on earth for a Jewish prophet: Jerusalem.  In all likelihood, Jesus was in the region of Perea at the time (which was the territory and jurisdiction covered by Herod Antipas), and Jesus was safer there with them than He was in the holy capital city of Judea.  Why keep moving on to Jerusalem?  Herod may have wanted Jesus dead, but so did the Jews!
  • Question: Is Jesus exaggerating?  Had all the prophets of Israel died inside of Jerusalem?  Historically, yes, several prophets died outside the city – Moses being perhaps the most well-known example.  Moses was not allowed even to enter the Promised Land due to his sin of misrepresenting God to the people. (Dt 32:51)  That said, it’s difficult to include prophets like Moses in Jesus’ statement, considering that Moses (and others before him) died before Jerusalem was even in the possession of the Israelites.  It wasn’t until the reign of David that it became the capital city & site of the future temple.  The Bible does not record all of the deaths of all of the prophets, but many of the ones that are recorded after the formation of the kingdom seem to take place within Jerusalem.  (Ezekiel and Daniel obviously died while in captivity.  There’s some evidence that Jeremiah perhaps died in Egypt, though the Bible never directly says so.)  Even so, the city borders of Jerusalem & the sites of physical death of the prophets is not really Jesus’ main point.  The way He speaks of the city here is similar to the way that God speaks of the city throughout many of the OT prophets: as a stand-in for the entire nation of Israel. (Metonymy)  It was the nation that rejected the prophets & that killed them in many horrible ways.  To be a prophet in Israel was virtually as dangerous a profession as being a king!
    • Consider the irony of that for a moment.  Very few of Israel’s prophets were called to serve in other lands (although many had oracles regarding other nations).  However, one was: Jonah.  Jonah was a disobedient prophet sent to whom he (and the rest of the civilized world) considered to be an extremely dangerous people: the Ninevites of Assyria.  These were people so violent that they would shove fishhooks through the cheeks of the people they conquered & use that as their “chain-gang” in carting off their newfound slaves.  (It’s no wonder Jonah didn’t want to go to them, and wanted to see God pour out His judgment & wrath!)  Yet in the grand scheme of things, Jonah was safer among the Ninevites than he was among the Jews.  In contrast, the prophet Jeremiah had an exclusive ministry in Jerusalem and he was repeatedly persecuted and imprisoned, virtually left to die in a pit.  It was more dangerous for a prophet to be among the people of God than the Gentiles!
    • Before we go pointing too many fingers, a similar observation could be made about Evangelical Christianity.  We have a tendency to eat our own.  Men and women of God who speak the truth are often told to shut up & sit down.  We don’t want to hear of sin & the need for repentance.  People come to church to feel good, and a whole bunch of talk regarding sin doesn’t do that.  Are there times to feel good?  Absolutely!  The Christian life is meant to be joyful; not sour.  But we also need the truth, thus we need pastors willing to proclaim the truth, & people in the pews hearing it & doing the same.
  • For all of Israel’s (Jerusalem’s) trouble regarding the prophets, Jesus had something so much better in mind for them!  Vs. 34…
  • Jesus’ desire (34-35)

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

  • Again, “Jerusalem” is likely standing in for the entire nation of Israel, but there can be no denial of how dangerous this particular city was for the prophets of God.  Men like Isaiah and Zechariah ben Jehoiada (among others) were killed in Jerusalem.  And this didn’t stop with the Old Testament.  Obviously Jesus was killed by the Romans and Jews of Jerusalem.  Stephen was stoned by those in Jerusalem, while the not-yet-converted Saul of Tarsus supervised.  All kinds of prophets and faithful men of God were killed in & around Jerusalem.
  • All of that was representative of Israel’s rejection of God, but it wasn’t representative of God’s will towards Israel.  What had God the Son wanted/desired/willed?  He wanted to “gather [His] children together.”  He wanted to love them, to protect them, to shower them with His compassion and provision.  Jesus used an incredibly unusual picture to help envision this: that of a mother hen sheltering her chicks.  For all of the imagery that could be used, Jesus used a hen.  Not an eagle swooping down upon prey in ferocity, which might be thought of as protection (though more likely as attack) – not even a male animal of any sort, as might be appropriate when speaking of the Father’s love – but a mother hen.  “As a hen gathers her brood under her wings,” so did Jesus want to do with the Jews.  Seeing that most of us weren’t raised around chickens, what does this look like?  One farming website describes it: “Chickens make amazing mothers and although we do not allow breeding at our sanctuaries we have had mothers arrive with babies. Mother hens are so protective of their children that you often cannot see the chicks when you first arrive in the barn. Moms puff up and hide their babies beneath them to ensure that not one single chick is taken from their brood. Even as their children grow, mothers shield them under their wings at night safeguarding them from harm. Chicks cannot get wet and mothers cover them in the rain. … Here, we have witnessed mother hens vocalize to their babies as soon as they spot an aerial predator. They’ve even sounded the alarm on pigeons flying too low over the farm. In response, babies run directly to mother hen for cover.” (https://www.thedodo.com/farm-animals-moms-babies-affection-1132949239.html )  That was the love of Jesus for Jerusalem.  God the Son wanted to love His people like a mother, with that kind of compassion and self-sacrifice.  He wanted to stand in their place for them, protecting them from danger, taking the hit from sin & death in their place.
  • What was the problem?  The Jews ran from Him.  The will of the people conflicted with the will of God.  Jesus said of them: “you were not willing.”  In the Old Testament, God used the imagery of His people finding refuge under His wings (Ps 57:1, 91:4).  That was His will for them, but their will for themselves was different.  Their will was to run the other way, forsaking the loving protection God offered them.  Their freewill was counter to the stated will of God, and God allowed them their choice.  This gets back to the idea of God’s perfect will vs. God’s permissive will.  God’s perfect will was for Jesus to go to the cross, and not a thing in heaven or on earth could stand in His way.  God’s permissive will was for Israel to freely come to God and be loved by Him, but they were unwilling to comply.  We see this same thing in the New Testament.  Without question, we know that it is God’s will for people to be saved: 1 Timothy 2:4, "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." – 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."  There is no doubt in either Scripture that God clearly desires people to be saved.  God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would much rather the wicked turn from his evil ways & live. (Eze 33:11)  This is God’s will.  Yet we know that not all are saved.  The Bible is clear that many perish outside of salvation.  The whole context this comes out of is one of Jesus telling Jews how many of them will be rejected from the kingdom.  Whenever hell is described, it is always described as populated.  How is this possible, if God’s will is for salvation?  This is the difference between His perfect will & permissive will.  God wants people to be saved, but He also want people to have free choice.  He wants people to freely respond to Him.  He wants to have a loving reconciled relationship with us, and that is not something that can be forced.  He invites us to come to Him in faith, but we need to be willing.
    • Are you willing?  Not everyone is, but some are.  No doubt, some listening to this today are.  But with that willingness needs to be a response.  Someone can say with their lips that they are willing to be saved, but still act opposite of that.  A person whose drowning can cry out for help, reaching forward for a hand to save them, yet still push their rescuer under water in an attempt to save themselves.  For a drowning person to be saved, he/she must surrender to the work of the rescuer.  Guess what?  You’re drowning, and you need to be rescued.  Surrender to the work of Jesus.  Let Him save you – let Him gather you to Himself to be placed under His wings.  Believe upon Him & entrust yourself fully into His hands.  He alone is able to save you; are you willing to trust Him?
  • Before we leave this, note a couple of important theological points:
    • Jesus asserts His eternality.  In the life of this 33 year old preacher & prophet, how many opportunities had He had to reach out to Jerusalem with compassion, longing for them to be gathered to Him?  Probably not too many.  As God the Son, how many had He had?  Too many to count!  Jesus had longed to shower His compassion upon Jerusalem before there even was a Jerusalem!  He had always loved His people, because He always knew them.  Likewise, He has always known us, loved us, and reached out to us.  He has known us since before the foundation of the world, because He has always existed.
    • In the same vein, Jesus asserts His deity – His equality with the Father.  Not only does the Son have the same eternal existence as the Father, but He somehow shares in the identity as the Father.  If Jesus were to point to the vast number of Scriptures showing the love of God for Israel, the Person identified there would most likely be God the Father.  Yet Jesus says that it is He who had longed for Israel’s reconciliation with Him.  How can this be?  It is part of the wonder of the Trinity.  Although Father, Son, and Spirit are separate Persons, God is still simply one God.  Thus when the Father longed for Israel, so did the Son & Spirit.  The Godhead yearned for His people, even when they were unwilling to come.
      • Jesus is God, and Jesus claimed to be God.  Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
  • What would be the result of Israel’s/Jerusalem’s rebellion?  Abandonment – destruction.  Vs. 35…

35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ ”

  • The Jews had forsaken the protection offered them by God, and they would eventually find themselves forsaken and desolate in return.  When would this happen?  In 70AD when the Romans came in and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple.  The protection offered from Almighty God would be lost when the nation rejected Jesus, and the Jews would once more feel what it was like to have God turn away from them.  Time was getting close to their last chance, and they were blowing it!
  • Although they would be forsaken for a while, they would not be forsaken forever.  God had made a promise that Israel would be His eternal people, and He would ensure it was kept.  Eventually the Israelites would recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and worship Him as the Lord.  The reference is: Psalm 118:25–26, "(25) Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. (26) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD."  This is the psalm famously quoted by the Jews outside of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (the Triumphal Entry).  When they called out “Hosanna,” they summarized the words “Save now.”  And beyond this, the actual words of Psalm 118 were quoted by Jesus’ disciples as they descended from the Mount of Olives to the walls of Jerusalem itself. (Lk 19:37-38)  Was that the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy?  Perhaps to an extent, but not fully.  Matthew places this same prophecy after Jesus’ arrival in the city (Mt 23:38-39), showing that it was not yet fulfilled.  Whether Luke quotes the exact same saying in a different chronology, or if this was something Jesus said twice is debated by scholars, but it’s clear a future fulfillment is in store.  At most, it can be said it was partially fulfilled on Palm Sunday – the true fulfillment will take place on a day when the Jerusalemites both recognize and worship Jesus as the true God of Israel.
    • Will it happen?  Yes!  When?  Prior to Jesus’ 2nd Coming.  The Bible tells us that there is coming a day, after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, that the blinders will come off of the eyes of the Jews and they will finally see Jesus as the Messiah.  In that day, all Israel will be saved. (Rom 11:25-26)  Those Jews will serve as a witness to the rest of the world that Jesus is the Christ, and people from each of the 12 tribes will be sealed for protection during the years of the Great Tribulation. (Rev 7:3-8)  Through their ministry, countless multitudes will hear the gospel and be saved. (Rev 7:14)  It may seem impossible today, but it is absolutely certain in the plan of God.  It is a wonderful marriage of the perfect & permissive will of God concerning Israel!

The very thing that will one day be recognized by all of Israel will eventually be recognized by all the world: Jesus is Lord!  Every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess who He is, all to the glory of God the Father.  This is the perfect will of God.

Much of what happens until that point is in His permissive will.  He gives people the freedom to choose to come to Him, but many are unwilling.  Maybe they are like the Pharisees and Herod, actively working against God.  Maybe they are like the Jews of ancient Jerusalem who refused God.  Either way, that is their choice, and it is what God allows…even when it is not what God desires.

God desires us to be saved!  He loves us, has compassion upon us, wants to protect us, wants to shelter and deliver us – but He will not force His love upon us.  That is something to which we must willingly respond.  Will you?  Don’t be one who rejects the love of Jesus!  His will is that you be saved – allow your will to be submitted to His will, and receive His salvation. 

What if you’re already saved?  Praise God!  But we can still have trouble submitting to the will of God for our lives.  Maybe we start second-guessing God’s perfect will from His permissive will – maybe we start giving ourselves excuses for our actions and consequences – maybe we even start blaming God for the bad things happening to us.  Stop.  There are some things we can clearly know from the pages of Scripture, and some things we cannot.  In the things in which we cannot be certain about God’s perfect will, there’s usually zero doubt in regards to His permissive will.  We know that God’s will for us is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We know God’s will for us to preach the gospel and make disciples.  We know God’s will for us is to be faithful in obedience, to pray & worship, to be filled with the Spirit, and more.  Follow through on what you know, leaving the results up to God.  We can be sure that He will do what needs to be done.  Trust His ultimate plans, and continue to entrust yourself to Him & His love.


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