Luke 13:22-30 (ESV)
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” 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 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.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
A person traveling with Jesus was surprised that the nation didn’t embrace Jesus’ ministry. This person asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” So Jesus told the story about a man who gave a feast. When the party arrival time passed, the man got up and shut the door. No one else could enter. If they weren’t in, they were permanently out. Those who came late tried to persuade the master of the house to open the door for them. They reminded him that they had eaten and drunk in his presence while he taught in the streets. Jesus referred here to the Jews who didn’t respond to his teaching. Soon it would be too late. Despite their pleas, the master of the house told them to go. They were workers of evil and refused to obey prior to the door shutting. Jesus added that there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth, or intense emotional and physical grief, resulting from of the anger of those who were shut out. But the faithful men of the past, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets, would be in the kingdom. The religious leaders would have been furious. They assumed that because they were children of Israel, God accepted them.
Then Jesus really shook things up. He added that there would be people from east, west, north, and south in God’s kingdom. What? The unbelieving Jews would have burned with anger. These four corners symbolized people from all ethnic groups. Jesus said the Gentiles would be accepted, but not these Jews. The Jews at that time believed Gentiles were inferior. Jesus let them know that although they considered themselves the first, they would be the very last, while the Gentiles, those they considered last, would end up first. What a blessing to know that God has opened the door to people from all ethnic groups. It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, man or woman. As long as the door is open, you can enter God’s kingdom. If you are a follower of Jesus today, rejoice that you got in before the door shut! Ask the Lord for another opportunity to share truth with that friend or family member who hasn’t yet surrendered to Christ. As long as the door remains open, there’s still hope! God can save anyone!