Matthew 8:11 says this: “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;”
This was likely a shocking statement to the overwhelmingly Jewish crowd of followers. He says that many people will come from both the east and the west to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Reclining around a low table to share a meal was the custom of Jesus’ day. Jesus points forward to a time in eternity when all present will eat together in heaven.
More specifically, Jesus is describing who will be present in the kingdom of heaven. Israel’s great patriarchs will be there, but so will Gentiles from lands in every direction from Israel. In other words, the kingdom of heaven will not be populated by Israelites alone (Galatians 3:7–9). This should not have been surprising to Jesus’ listeners because of God’s promise to bless the families of the earth through Abraham (Genesis 12:3).
The essential thing to notice is that Jesus is connecting who will be in the kingdom of heaven to the Gentile centurion’s faith in Him and His authority. Faith in Christ will be the deciding factor about who enters the kingdom of heaven, not nationality (Galatians 3:28–29). In the following verse, Jesus may well surprise His crowd by describing who will not be present at such a meal.
We’ll get to the second part of this verse in tomorrow’s devotion but….
This idea once again that it is FAITH that decides who will be in heaven. Faith is so so so so so important in our walk with Jesus. To be honest, I’m just learning this in the last few years. I’ve had faith..but not faith that requires complete and utter dependence on Jesus for everything. I know, sounds like a weird statement but I’m just being honest.
Be honest today…what’s your faith looking like these days?