Saturday, November 3, 2012

“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

“Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.   Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.    People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” Luke 13:23-30 NIV

Upon reading this Gospel and attempting to have an understanding of Jesus, I must confess it has not been an easy task.   For the most part, the image I have of Jesus is His loving and caring nature.  

He is the Good Shepherd, who loves and cares for His sheep.   So each time I read these words of the Lord they seem harsh.  As we struggle with these harsh words, let me offer you a foundation for the understanding.

Throughout the Scriptures, the image of a door has been used either spiritually or metaphorically to represent a way or means by which we enter the Kingdom of God or it becomes a line that divides two groups of people; those on the inside and those on the outside.

As Jesus is traveling towards Jerusalem, He realizes His earthly mission is coming to an end and so He doesn’t want to waste any time.  As the crowd follows Him on this journey, He is teaching them and this is the setting of this parable of The Closed Door.

As they were walking along, you will notice in verse 23 one of the followers turns around to Jesus and asks this question: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

“How many people will be saved?” was his question and I suppose it’s a valid question.  Jesus does not answer this young man’s question directly but, in response, Jesus presents a warning, a very solemn warning. That is found in verse 24:

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, you have a similar warning. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus was telling His disciples:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.

As you read this statement, both in Matthew and in Luke, you get the idea that maybe Jesus is teaching that it is hard to be saved and that it is easy to be lost. Many people feel that way as they read these statements.   When you analyze this statement in its context and when you realize to whom Jesus was making that statement, you know that He is NOT teaching that to be saved is difficult and that we can be lost very easily.

He is dealing with a problem that the Jews faced and unfortunately a problem that we face today. That is why I think this parable is very relevant to us today.

That narrow gate represents salvation because the man asked the question, “Will there be few who will be saved?” Jesus response was, “Make sure that you go through that narrow gate.”

Why is the gate to salvation narrow?   Is it because it’s too difficult?  NO!  

It is because you cannot take any baggage with you.  The only door to heaven is Jesus Christ.  Jesus was saying that the only way any human being can be saved is through Him.


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