Summary: Jesus gives us very clear instruction on the way to God directing us to seek the 1) Right Door 2) at the Right Time 3) by the Right Way
In Jerusalem this week, President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert met as well as other mid-east officials to work on yet another middle-east peace process. As one commentator said, there is a lot of process and very little peace. This process is important for Mr. Bush, for in many ways he sees this as the legacy of his presidency. This year is an election year in the US and Bush knows that time is running out.
In Luke 13, time is also running out for Christ. Jesus has come to a point in His ministry where the inevitability is clear. He has been showing since Luke 11:37 that the Pharisees and many others in the nation have not responded. Though they see themselves joined to the patriarchs and prophets, they are rapidly placing themselves in apposition where they will be isolated from them.
For each of us, time is also running out. Our time on this earth is limited and we have a short window of opportunity to accomplish our mission. The gospel of Salvation is a message that must be received in this life in order for Christ to redeem. Assumptions can be deadly, both for us and for those to whom we are charged to present the message. The exclusive nature of the message will offend many, but the window of opportunity is closing, and for some, it is shorter than we think.
1) The Right Door (Luke 13:22-24)
Luke 13:22-24 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (ESV)
Luke mentions in Luke 13:22, that Jesus is heading toward Jerusalem. The nation’s very resistance to accept Jesus will drive Him to His death in the nation’s religious center. Since Luke 9:51 he set His direction toward fulfilling the mission for which He came and taught on His way to Jerusalem.
Jesus presented the expectations of God before His offer of Grace. Only when we present the need for salvation first, does it make sense. That is why most likely, the follow question arose in 13:23.
Luke 13:23 And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" (And he said to them,)
We don’t know who asked Him this question or why exactly. We do know that up until this time it had been assumed that every Israelite belonged to God.
Many today also falsely assume that people today will be automatically saved because they currently belong to a political state called Israel.
Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, (ESV)
The line of demarcation between saved and unsaved was not nationalistic but spiritual.
This question is also a common response to difficult teaching. Instead of self examination, the questioner may be trying to avoid Jesus’ teaching by taking the matter to a theoretical or general level regarding groups of people. Jesus did not teach just facts and history but confronted people with their personal sin and personal need for a saviour. And so should we.
• Instead of just considering this a moral or historic lesson, consider who do you know that is not saved? Who do you know who needs the message of salvation and God has put you into their life to lovingly tell them.
Jesus answers them in Luke 13:24
Luke 13:24"Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell y o u, will seek to enter and will not be able
Jesus answers the question indirectly with what is in effect a warning. He does not describe the number of saved as few, but He shows that people come into blessing from everywhere (13:29), and He notes that many who thought they were inside will find themselves outside.. The idea is not that we work our way to God, but to labour hard at listening and responding to the message. This was directed not just at the questioner but the “y o u” in the passage is plural, directed at all who would hear His teaching.
“strive” – Gk. – ‘agonizomai’ – this is where we get our word “agonize” from. It was the word used for those who competed in the athletic games like wrestling. It means to put all your energy towards the prize. This is where we ought to concentrate our lives … put all our energy … eternity depends on it. We wrestle against our unsantified selves, our sin, the world and the kingdom of darkness: