Once as Jesus traveled towards Jerusalem, someone asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” He answered:
“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!'” (Luke 13.23-27)
Customarily, Jesus did not answer the question as it was asked. He didn’t give a number or estimated percentage of the population that would be saved. Instead, He focused in on the questioner and got real personal, as if to say, “Don’t worry about everyone else; YOU strive to enter the narrow door.”
He also said MANY would seek to enter and would not be able. It’s not that God actively keeps people out of the kingdom of Christ, but people want to enter the kingdom on their own terms, and it’s impossible to enter except by the terms God lays down for us. We must give up self in order to enter, and most don’t want to give themselves up.
But one day the door will be shut and there will be no more access to the kingdom, to salvation, to God. Those on the outside will be like the five foolish virgins who were late in arriving to the wedding. Although they planned to be there, they didn’t make the necessary preparations, and it cost them entrance to the feast.
But the saddest picture is of these OUTSIDE folks knocking, pleading, “Let us in! Please open up!” But Jesus will say (for He is Lord) “I do not know where you come from.” In Matthew 7.23, He says, “I never knew you”! Can you imagine hearing Jesus say that to you? You might be like those in this text who argue with Him: “We ate with You! We drank with You! We were right here when you taught us. We sat at Your feet! What do You mean You don’t know us or where we come from?!” Many from my own generation will yell at the closed gates, “I went to church! I was baptized! I prayed! I told other people about You! What do you mean You don’t know me?”
You do not want to be outside, friend. You don’t want Jesus to say, “I do not know where you are from.” How will you avoid this? He’s looking for those who STRIVE to enter the narrow door. The Greek word is agonizomai, by which we get our word “agonize.” Struggle with passion to enter the narrow door. It’s narrow because it’s very specific–you can only enter through Christ, and you must love Him with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. He accepts no half-hearted commitments, no empty confessions, no relaxed religion. He accepts only full submission.
When you stand before the Father on Judgment Day, you will want Jesus at your side, and you’ll want Him to confess your name before the Judgment Throne–“This is one of Mine, Father.”