“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
Now we are going to look at the parable and, notice, exactly what Jesus is trying to get across. The question is, “Will there be many?” There’s a big crowd following Jesus. “Will many of us be saved?” Jesus says, “Strive to go through that narrow gate.” Just as Hebrews 4:11 tells the Jews:
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”
Let’s look at the parable which is found in verse 25:
“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.””
Let me remind you that the Jewish peasants to whom Jesus was addressing this statement lived in a one-room house. It was on two levels. The first half of the house was what we would call ground level or first floor. Then there was a little elevation — maybe two feet — a platform where the people slept. When the family woke up in the morning they stepped off this platform and opened the door to bring in the fresh air and to announce to their neighbors they were awake.
That door would remain open all day long. They never closed it; it was common to have the door open.
But when night came and it was time to go to sleep, the father — the master of the house — would come to the door after he had brought in all his animals to sleep at the lower level and he would shut the door and bolt it. He was telling his neighbors and everybody around: “Please do not disturb me. I have gone to sleep.”
Jesus was using this typical practice as a spiritual lesson. He is saying, “When God closes the door, many of you will not be inside but you will be outside.” He is not dealing with houses here; He is dealing with salvation, because that is the question.
He is saying, “Many of you will be found not inside the kingdom of God but outside. You will knock on the door and you will cry to me and you will say, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us’ and I will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you where you are from.’” It is very important that you notice their response. Verse 26:
“Then you will say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.””
This is a Jewish way of saying, “But, Lord Jesus, we were members of your church in good and regular standing. How come you don’t even know us? We were part of Your church!”
Notice Jesus is not comparing here between believers and unbelievers. Verse 24:
“...Many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”
He is talking about people who are trying to go to heaven, who are doing their very best to make it to heaven and who will not make it. He is not talking about unbelievers. He is talking about His chosen people who are trying to go to heaven.
They will say to Him, “But Jesus, we were part of Your church. We were part of Your covenant people.”
He responds in verse 27:
“………. “I don’t know you or where you come from. [Then He adds this terrible statement.] Away from me, all you evildoers!”