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Jesus, the Greater Noah

Author Lesley Leyland Fields writes about the journey of learning to forgive her absent, abusive father. Though she had long held against him his litany of sins, in later adulthood she moved toward him in forgiveness. With sympathy, she recognized the brokenness of her father’s past, and this fueled new compassion and greater willingness to forgive.

Forgiveness is just one manifestation of the faith that Jesus says will be required to enter the kingdom of heaven. Humility is another evidence of kingdom faith, in which we count our work for God the Master not as some extraordinary achievement of our own doing but as something necessary that flows from His work for us (v. 10).

Kingdom faith must also be grateful, giving thanks as the healed Samaritan leper did (v. 16). And finally, by faith in Jesus our perspective is transformed, allowing us to see beyond the banality of the everyday to a greater spiritual reality—both of our sin and of the gospel (vv. 20–21).

In the days of Noah and of Lot, they lacked the last element of faith. As Jesus details, people were caught up in the busyness of life (v. 27). They were eating and drinking, celebrating life events, planning for their cities and farms. They didn’t heed the warnings of God’s coming wrath, and suddenly their earthly lives were irreversibly disrupted when God held them to account for their sin.

We must always remember the invisible reality of God’s kingdom. Having faith in Jesus reorients our thinking about everyday worries of home maintenance and car repairs and job loss. Longings for luxury and comfort wane as we remember Jesus’ words: In order to keep our lives for eternity, we must lose them today (Luke 9:24).

Apply the Word

In Psalm 90 the psalmist wrote about keeping heavenly time. Read Psalm 90 this week and ask God to teach you to number your days so that you may gain a heart of wisdom (Ps. 90:12). And thank God for Jesus, who is the greater Noah. He has warned us of God’s coming wrath, and He has also provided a means of rescue.

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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