“Strive to enter through the narrow door..."
Luke 13:22-14:6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And He was passing through one city and village after another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin standing outside and knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ and He then will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 Then you will begin saying, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ 27 And yet He will say, ‘I do not know where you are from; leave Me, all you evildoers.’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. 29 And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
31 At that very time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away and leave this place, because Herod wants to kill You.” 32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I am casting out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I reach My goal.’ 33 Nevertheless I must go on My journey today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside Jerusalem. 34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her young under her wings, and you were unwilling! 35 Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
14 It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. 2 And there in front of Him was a man suffering from edema. 3 And Jesus responded and said to the lawyers and Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. 5 And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” 6 And they could offer no reply to this.
In Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people.” There are two different deceptions that can be seen regarding what Jesus says. There are false Christ’s, those who claim to be a messiah and mislead many people. There are also those who say that Jesus is the Christ, but that the Jesus that is here today is different than the Jesus that spoke these words. They mislead many people by saying that if Jesus were here today, He would accept, tolerate and even embrace the immorality of our culture and society. Those who say that they speak in Jesus name, that they are of the Christian faith, but embrace or even promote the very things that He suffered and died on the cross to redeem us from, are deceived and deceivers. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Neither Jesus, nor the Father have changed their minds regarding sin and its consequences. Jesus sacrifice on the cross was to make us acceptable to God, not to make sin acceptable.
In today’s text it says: Someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” 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.” There are some, who in their desire to be inclusive say that Jesus is one of many ways to heaven, that He was a good man, a good teacher and a good example of how we should live. In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus cannot be one of many ways. Either He spoke the truth or He was a liar. Many reject what Jesus says, that He is the way, the only way to the Father, saying it is unfair and non-inclusive. The truth is, there is nothing more inclusive than faith in Christ. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” What could be more inclusive? Everyone is judged on the same basis, not by their race, ethnicity or national origin, not by their financial or social standing, their age, gender or by any other criteria by which people judge, separate and divide. Everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. Romans 10:9-10 says: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Do not be misled though. This is not a matter of just saying, but actually of believing unto righteousness. In Matthew 7:13-14;21-23 Jesus makes a similar statement about the narrow way saying: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it… Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” We cannot just say that Jesus is Lord. He must be Lord of our lives.
Jesus says that difficult is the way which leads to life. The truth is though that it is only difficult for those who resist and refuse it. Acts 9:1-5 says: Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” It is hard when we resist and kick against the Lord. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.” In truth, the narrow way of Christ is the only way to the Father and to rest and peace.
“Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!” Amen.