Day 18

The Narrow Way

from the Luke reading plan


Luke 13:1-35, Deuteronomy 32:10-14, Psalm 137:1-9

BY Guest Writer

In Andrew Peterson’s beloved Christmas album Behold the Lamb of God, he sings the song, “Deliver Us,” based on Jesus’s lament for Jerusalem in Luke chapter 13. He sings, hauntingly,

Jerusalem, Jerusalem
How often I have longed
To gather you beneath my gentle wings.

Even typing these words brings tears to my eyes. Peterson captures, in a way that only master songwriters can, the ache of the ages. The song ends with those lines, an answer to the previous verses that are sung from the perspective of God’s wandering people:

Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay
Our shackles they were made with our own hands

Jesus’s lament summarizes the history of God’s stiff-necked people. Jerusalem—used here both literally, in reference to the city, and also as a metaphor for God’s people throughout time—had a history of turning away from God and abandoning the prophets, judges, and even the Messiah God had sent to them. Even earlier in this chapter, we see a specific example of the Pharisees questioning Jesus’s miracles. The crowds believed, but the leaders rejected Him.

Despite the innumerable sins of His people and their continuing self-imprisonment due to their own choices, Jesus weeps over the city and the people He came to save (Luke 19:41). God longs to gather His children, to protect them, to gather them under His wings (Psalm 91:4). Jerusalem is His greatest joy (Psalm 137:6), the people He will go to the greatest lengths to save. It is the promise of the whole of Scripture.

Jesus stands outside of the city where He will die, and His lament is not for His death. His lament is for the people He longs to save. He has just finished warning them, telling them that by not believing Him they will not join Him in the kingdom of God. But His lament shows us that He does not make these proclamations about the narrow way out of anger, but out of grief.

“How often I wanted to gather your children together…
but you were not willing!” (v.34).

Even in His lament over the past and current rejection of His people, Jesus knew He would be rejected yet again in Jerusalem. But the steadfast, faithful, persistent love of the Father through the ages, embodied in the person of Christ, never fails. Love would carry Jesus all the way to the cross, into the dark tomb, and ultimately, into the glorious resurrection—where He invites us to join Him, forever.

Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

Post Comments (44)

44 thoughts on "The Narrow Way"

  1. Crystal Crawford says:

    Amen!! I love the song “King of the World” by Natalie Grant. It serves as a reminder that God can not do his best work in me when I contain Him or make him smaller than He is. In hindsight, I always recognize HIS timing is perfect. I’m still working on recognizing that in present time.

    1. Rhonda Martinez says:

      Thank you for this reminder that God’s timing is better than what we think in our time.

  2. Lyna Ninkham says:

    34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

    How often I have not been willing to be gathered under Jesus’ wings of all that He has done for me. Humbled by His persistence to continue to pursue me whether I want it or not.

  3. Beth Hinson says:

    There have been so many times in my life when I have been like the children of Jerusalem, refusing to let God take me under his wing for protection and guidance because it is so easy to think that your way is best. It is taking that much larger path of everyone else and thinking that we are in control of our lives and that we can do it ourselves, but y’all I am so happy to know that I can’t do it all myself and that I need Jesus!! He always has my plans, purpose, and heart in His mind when guiding me through life and that is something I can take comfort in. Every step He guides me through is deliberate and for His glory, what a weight off my shoulders that I do not have to do it alone! I am so thankful for His fierce love that is strong enough to single each one of us out and to call me back when I stray away.

  4. Kelly Chataine says:

    Praying for your sweet baby, Emmeline!

  5. Bunny says:

    Steph C- what a great correlation!!! Thanks for pointing that out!
    Emmeline- praying for your baby and for you to have strength.
    Church mouse – always look forward to your posts.
    My sisters, your words lift us up every day and know that I am praying for you all. Much love to all.

  6. Tina says:

    Praying Emmaline.. God be present in every stage of this journey with your little one. Praying He give you strength to trust and hold fast to Him, that you believe He only has the best plans and purposes, not to harm but, to give you and your a hope and a future..
    Will be holding you and yours up in prayer in these following days.. love wrapped hugs and prayers being sent your way..x

  7. Emmeline Minchala says:

    Please pray for my 2 month old baby, he is having a CT scan next Thursday to find out if a suture in his skull has closed too early, If so, he will have to undergo a surgery. Really afraid and sad about what he might have to go through. But God is good no matter what happens and pray for my heart to believe that and accept his plans in everything, including my son’s life. He will always be glorified.

    1. Sue Barrow says:

      Praying for your precious little one Emmeline.

    2. Natasha R says:

      I’m praying for you, your baby, and the doctors!

  8. Steph C says:

    “The ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, ‘There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day’.” (Lk 13:14) We try to limit God … to make Him like us when we say, “this is the appropriate day/time/way to do this”. God is not limited or ruled by time, custom, or social norms. He acts when and how is best. Our only correct response is to bow in worship and shout with praise when He intervenes!

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