Jesus has been traveling and teaching along the way. Luke shares with us one of the questions He encounters. “Will those who are saved be few?”
I’m curious about the askers of this question. Luke doesn’t tell us who this brave soul was or his reason behind asking. I wonder if it is one the regular followers who trail Jesus wherever He goes or someone in a town He visited. Was he asking because he wanted to know if he could get in too or was he hoping others would be kept out?
When Jesus answered this question did He address His remarks specifically to the asker or to a larger audience? Who was in that audience? Was it only those following Jesus around or was it a general admission group? Luke tells us “He said to them”, which tells us that there was more than one person listening to Jesus’ answer and His answer applied to more than just originator of the question.
Looking at how the question is answered, I think Jesus was probably addressing people who were hanging out with Him regularly. They may not have been traveling with Him but they always came to His “revivals.” So then, what is He actually telling these people?
When they ask about the quantity He would be including in His Kingdom, He turned His answer around to make it about the qualities of those included. Judging by the negative tone in His answer I would guess that He is speaking to those who aren’t “making the cut.” Other than the statement of, “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (verse 24), Jesus’ words are not positive. They are downright scary!
These people appear to have the belief that they would be among the “saved.” Jesus tells them they are probably not on the saved list. Even though they had come out to see Him every time He came to town, they lacked a personal relationship with Him. He “did not know where [they came] from” (verse 25), meaning He did not recognize them as one of His own. There was no relationship with these excluded people.
So many people think that by going to church, putting money in the offering, and even volunteering now and again will get them into Heaven. But if they don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior, ALL the works in the world won’t get them through the gates. Surrendering your life to Jesus and asking Him to be Lord of your life is the ONLY way to Heaven.
Jesus also tells His audience that there is a time limit on the open door for salvation. There are two specific cutoff points. The first is personal and the second is global. The personal cutoff is each person’s death. If you have not made the decision before you draw your last breath, then the decision is made for you. I believe God honors some last minute conversions, but ONLY when they are made out of true understanding and seeking of Him. Not as a last ditch effort at getting “fire insurance.” I believe the global cutoff is at the battle of Armageddon. I believe there is a “last call” sent out right in the end and it begins with the rapture of the church. Those who come to know Him during the time of the Great Tribulation will have a place with Him. But those who refuse even then will face the final bloodbath in the valley. They will face the same fate as Satan and his beast that day. No more chances after that day for those who lived to see Jesus return. I wonder if there will be any pretenders in that day. Right now, at least in the US, being a Christian is generally considered a good thing. During the end times being a Christian can get you killed. So would anyone risk that fate without having a real relationship with Jesus? I don’t know.
Jesus also lets His audience know that His invitation into Heaven is not limited to Israel alone. He says there will be people from all four corners coming together in Heaven. Those who thought they had the rights of being first will find themselves in the last places, maybe even on the outside if they don’t make the decision. And those who thought they had no chance at all will be welcomed in right away. They came running when the offer was made.
Father God, thank You for including me in Your offer of eternal life in Your Kingdom. Jesus, I am so grateful that You offered me a personal relationship with You. I didn’t earn it and I don’t really deserve it, but You extended Your hand to me anyway. Help me always keep our relationship alive and fresh. Don’t let me take You and all You offer for granted.
Father God, for my family members who haven’t made the decision to accept Your invitation, PLEASE grab their attention! Bring them into the family. I know You won’t force anyone to choose You but You can certainly make their need for the right choice obvious. Show them is neon colors the life and death decision before them. Please help them choose life. I want You to be able to say that You recognize them too.