Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out.”
– Luke 13:22-28
Wow! These words of Jesus should be a wake-up call for everyone. In essence, Jesus is telling us that the way to heaven is through the narrow door (“narrow gate,” cf. Matthew 7:13-14). Notice that Jesus did not directly answer the question about how many are going to be saved. Warren Wiersbe writes, “The question is not how many will be saved, but whether or not you will be saved! Get that settled first, and then we can discuss what you can do to help get others saved.”
Jesus says “Strive to enter in at the strait (narrow) gate” (KJV). The word picture here is of an athlete giving his best to win the contest. This means “to contend,” “to labor fervently,” or “to struggle against.” Following Jesus is not easy. This is why the gate is narrow. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” I believe the road that leads to heaven is narrow because only a few choose to truly follow Jesus. Most people choose to follow the crowd because following the crowd is easy—everyone is doing it! That is why the road that leads to destruction (hell) is wide. Which road are you traveling?
What is the key to one’s certainty of being on the narrow road that leads to life and to heaven? Knowing Jesus! Look at verses 25 and 27. They both state that the owner of the house says to those knocking on the door after it has been closed, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me!” Wow! These are words you never want to hear from Jesus. Recently I heard that a local minister mocked this concept of knowing Jesus. At someone’s funeral, this minister stood before the people and said, “I have friends of mine who say you have to know Jesus to go to heaven. How about the disciples who all fled when he was arrested?” I’m not sure what he meant about the disciples because later they all were willing to die for their faith, with the exception of Judas. I was told by a friend of mine who was at the funeral that he mocked those of us who believe you must know Jesus personally to be saved.
Consider one last passage. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never KNEW you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Listen carefully! If you want to enter heaven when you die, make sure you know Jesus now personally. In John 17:3 Jesus says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may KNOW you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” I think you get the point. You must KNOW Jesus to enter through the narrow gate and find yourself on the narrow road that leads to heaven. Christianity is not about religion. It’s about a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. I hope you know Him. Do you?