Luke 13:22 – 30
22Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
23Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. 25When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. 29Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. 30Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Luke continues with Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God, but first, he reminds us that Jesus is still making his way toward Jerusalem, and the true inauguration of the Kingdom Now. Someone asks, “will only a few be saved?” Don’t we hear that question today? Is it only those who are baptized in a certain manner, or those who believe a specific doctrine, or those who give voice to certain words? Is it only those who believe what I do? That is the way we ask that question today – and any of those questions presents a viewpoint we should question. We are not the judges! Jesus, the Son, with God the Father, is the only Judge.
Jesus responds to the question – try to enter through the narrow door. I believe that narrow door means living into the kingdom today, the kingdom now. We do not get in through the narrow door by waiting until the crowd presses against it at the last minute! That would be like trying to get out of the Keys after an evacuation order but waiting until the last minute. We get in through the narrow door by living into the Kingdom in the present, in our lives today, in the decisions we make day in and day out. At some point after an evacuation order it is too late to get on the road – the bridges are closed. We need to be on that narrow road that leads to the narrow door early. Because, Jesus says, there will come a time when it is too late to get in.
Lots of those who claim to have been his followers will stand there beating on the closed door. They will say that they were there when he taught, they shared the pot-luck dinners in the church, they called themselves Christians. But Jesus will say, I don’t know you. Those who did not live a life of love, for God and their neighbor, will not know the God of love; they will lack the credentials, the proper invitations, to get in the door. But they will see all sorts of people going in – those they thought would be excluded; they had, after all, excluded them themselves. But the first will be last and the last will be first.