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Friday Q&A Reclining and Gnashing

And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ~ Matthew 8:11-12

Ok – so what do you make of this?

This is where I am in my stroll through Galilee with Jesus and He blurts this beauty out there. Just happened to come on a Friday, so I thought – hey let’s get some chatter going on this one.

So in context He is talking to the Roman Centurion we have been talking about for a few days, and who demonstrated great faith that caught Jesus’ attention.

Perhaps He is simply putting this out there for the Pharisee’s in the following masses. He makes the point that He has not found this kind of faith or understanding of His authority in those of Israel’s race.

John brings light to this in the opening of his wonderful account of Jesus’ life, when He says

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:11-12

So is that it? Or does this run deeper?

Clearly it is not an indictment of all Israel since these that come from the East and West are reclining with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

What do you think?

Tell me your take on these strong word from the Word Made Flesh.

BenThanks for coming by


0 thoughts on “Friday Q&A Reclining and Gnashing

  1. letnothingbewasted

    Hmmm....I've never noticed the "from the east & west" part. I'd love to hear what you and others say about it....My life group is reading through the Bible & we just finished Matthew & Mark and discussed the sometimes harsh/strong/what-did-He-mean statements He made.

    1. Ben Nelson

      it's interesting that you point out the East and West part because i was thinking about that specifically. I was wondering if Jesus is talking about East (Far East - and Pacific floods of believers) and West (Euro/American believers) coming in and Israel being displaced.

      But as I ponder that, I see a trap. One thing I don't like to do is create a theology that point fingers out and does not consider my own place. there are so many who teach theology as though some one gave them a weapon to wield, but as i have said before the Word of God is a mirror not a window.

      So again i find myself asking the Master, Is it me Lord? Of all the descriptors in His statement, i would call my self a son of the kingdom, and i believe He uses this terminology specifically to get our attention.

      As if He is saying - Are you a son of the kingdom? Then walk by faith not by sight.

      Sorry - i am letting my fingers do the pondering, and you are the victim.
      God bless you and thanks so much for engaging here. I love you blog by the way - but i hated (yes Hated) that preacher video - YIKES

      1. letnothingbewasted

        I love to listen (or read) when folks more versed in theology PONDER in my vicinity...because there's sooooo much I do not understand. I do not even REALIZE that I don't understand because some of it just *swoosh* goes right over my head. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog & your kind comment. I just wrestle with what it seems like God is saying to me.....but I've been so busy lately that I haven't written much or even read many other blogs.

  2. Debbie

    I've read this a couple of times and all that comes to me is just what you said, thinking about those that would not except Him. 🙂 Thanks Mr. Ben and God bless you as you help us take a closer look at His Word!

    1. Ben Nelson

      Thanks Deb - i am sure you are right, but as i mentioned above, it is troubling that He uses the phrase "sons of the kingdom" - troubling is probably the wrong word, makes me stop and think - yes - that's better.
      God bless you and the Aub!

  3. cshowers

    I love these conversations, Ben. I just love studying the word and discussing it. And now for my two cents... 😀

    Because he was speaking to His Jewish followers, and not to the Roman centurion, though, he heard every word spoken by Jesus, and the words that Jesus spoke may have given him the hope of one day dwelling in the Kingdom of God, I've always thought that those from the east and the west that He spoke of were Gentiles. Remember, for the Jews, all Gentiles were considered to be heathens and pagans, who were unworthy of entering the Kingdom of God. Jesus' statement, that Gentiles would be reclining at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, must have caused quite a stir. I would imagine that many were quite outraged by this statement, particularly the scribes and Pharisees. I also imagine that a great number of them were perplexed by this statement. Had they misunderstood what Jesus was saying? Did he really mean that Gentiles would inhabit heaven? How could that be?

    If the first part of Jesus' statement must have caused a stir, then the second part of his statement really must have set the crowd's teeth on edge. "After all," they must have reasoned, we are the sons of Abraham. "How dare He say that many Gentiles would recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but we, the sons of Abraham... we, the sons of the kingdom, shall be cast out into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth?"

    I don't picture Jesus speaking those words in anger. I believe He boldly spoke the first part of His statement, looking strongly into the eyes of different members of the crowd. Then, as He came to the second part of His statement, I imagine the inflection in His voice changed, as He gazed sadly into the eyes of some of those who were so sure of themselves, but all the while, they were so desperately lost. How it must have grieved His heart, as He looked at the crowd of people, knowing that many of those who were following Him that day, would one day face eternal damnation, in that place of darkness, forever separated from God, forever tormented, where they would be wailing and grinding their teeth.

    1. Ben Nelson

      Good stuff Cheryl! In your description i can feel the love in our Savior's eyes as He shares hard and important truth. You have probably nailed this passage perfectly, yet i always like to leave room for the Holy Spirit to speak to my Christian formation when Jesus is speaking.

      I don't allow some vague "I'm not good enough" kind of thing in, but I do like to let the Master speak to what needs help in my walk.

      Thanks for taking the time to walk though this with the Red Letter Crowd.


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