Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 31: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
25. And when the master of the house shall have arisen, and shall have shut the door, and you shall begin to stand without and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us: and he answering shall say to you, I know not whence you are: 26. Then you shall begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27. And he shall say, I say to you, I know not whence you are: depart from me, all who work iniquity. 28. Weeping and gnashing of teeth shall be there, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves shut out. 29. And they shall come from the east and west, and north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30. And, lo, they are last who shall be first, and they are first who shall be last.
Luke 13:25. And when the master of the house shall have arisen Though these words, as I hinted a little before, were spoken on a different and later occasion, I have chosen to pay more regard to the doctrine than to the time: for it is no slight assistance to the understanding to read, in immediate connection, those passages which are closely related in meaning. As Christ had declared that to many, who shall desire to enter into heaven, the door will not be open, he now asserts, that they gain nothing by occupying a place in the church because God will at length arise in judgment, and shut out from his kingdom those who now lay claim to a place in his family. He employs the comparison of the master of a house, who, having learned that some wicked and dissolute persons among his own domestics steal out unperceived during the night, and expose the house to thieves, rises and shuts the door, and does not allow those night-prowlers to enter, who have been wandering through the public streets at unseasonable hours. By these words he warns us, that we must avail ourselves of the opportunity, while it is offered: for so long as the Lord invites us to himself, the door is, as it were, open, that we may enter into the kingdom of heaven: but the greater part do not deign to move a step. Christ therefore threatens, that the door will at length be shut, and that those who are looking for companions are in danger of being refused admission.
26. Thou hast taught in our streets Christ expressly states, that it will be of no advantage to the Jews, that he approached near to them, and permitted them to enjoy familiar intercourse with him, if, when called, they do not answer at the appointed day. But he does not follow out his comparison: for, after having spoken about the master of a house, he now states, without a figure, that he is himself the judge; and indeed the words, thou hast taught in our streets, can apply to no one but himself. We now perceive his design, which was, to warn the Jews not to allow themselves to lose, by their own neglect, the salvation which it is in their power to obtain.
28. When you shall see Abraham The Jews bore no resemblance to the holy fathers, and had no right to boast of being descended from them: yet nothing was more customary than to abuse the title of the Church. 474 Christ here assures them, that a bastard race, which has departed from the faith and piety of the fathers, has “no inheritance in the kingdom of God,” (Eph 5:5.) There is a silent but implied reproof, that those who were desirous to have companions in seeking salvation, did not endeavor to associate themselves with Abraham, and the prophets, and the holy fathers, instead of looking around among their contemporaries, who had degenerated greatly from their example into innumerable corruptions. “If you neglect (says he) to enter by the strait gate, because you are kept back by the great number of those who are going astray, do you not see that you are separated from the number of believers, and become involved with unbelievers?” If the aspect of the world now dazzles your eyes, the last day will cure you of this folly, but it will be too late: for you shall then know that you, and others like you, are excluded from the kingdom of God, and have no part with Abraham
29. And they shall come from the east He now draws a larger illustration from the fact, that the Jews, who reckoned themselves the only lawful heirs of God, were to be rejected, and that the Gentiles were to be substituted in their room, and obtain the life which was promised to Abraham and his posterity. He contrasts the Gentiles with them, in order to excite them to faith by a holy jealousy: as Paul writes, that
“it will be a distinguished honor of his ministry, if he excite any of his nation and blood to such an emulations,”
(Rom. 11:13, 14.)
The Jews must have been stung by it: for they had an inordinate love of themselves, and proudly despised God and his gifts. But as we shall, ere long, meet with this sentence again in the Gospel by Matthew I now glance at it more slightly.
30. And, lo, they are last who shall be first The same words, as we shall elsewhere see, were frequently employed by Christ, but in a different sense, (Matt. 19:30, Matt. 20:16; Mr 10:31.) All that he intended here was, to throw down the vain confidence of the Jews, who, having been chosen by God in preference to all the rest of the world, trusted to this distinction, and imagined that God was in a manner bound to them. For this reason, Christ threatens that their condition will soon be changed; that the Gentiles, who were at that time cast off, would obtain the first rank; and that the Jews, deprived of their honor, would not even occupy the farthest corner in the Church. 475
“Et avoyent tousjours en la bouche le titre d'Eglise, duquel ils abu- soyent;” — “and had always in their mouth the title of Church, which they abused.”
“Ne tiendront pas mesme le dernier reng, ou quelque petit coin en l'Eglise;” — “will not hold even the lowest rank, or some small corner in the Church.”