Narrow Gate

He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. And 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. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

“Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’

“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 yourselves being thrown out. And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.”
(Luke 13:22–30)

As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem to be crucified, he was asked about who would enter the kingdom of God. Those who asked him assumed that all the Jewish people would make it. What they wondered was which sinners were going to be excluded. But Jesus explained that the kingdom had a narrow door that not everyone would find. Being Jewish wasn’t enough. Admission was limited. Not everyone would make it through just because they were descended from Abraham. And once the feast of the kingdom began, that door narrow door would slam shut.

To their surprise, Jesus told them that some of those entering the kingdom of God wouldn’t even be Jewish. Gentiles would make it into the kingdom! Jesus wanted those listening to him to understand that entry into the kingdom was not based on their birth. Instead, entry was based upon their relationship with Jesus. Striving to get in doesn’t mean that we get in based on how hard we work. Rather, it means that it is based on learning where the door is and then going through it. Any of us can get into God’s kingdom simply by entering it. All we have to do is walk through that narrow door.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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