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.’” (Luke 13:22-25, NIV)
This is not a “buck up and try harder, buddy” talk. That closed door is the door to heaven. It is the door to the New Jerusalem.
The chapter begins with Jesus warning people to repent or perish. Notice, it is not repent or else things might not go as well as you’d like. Repent or perish. A or B. You can have one of the other.
Bear fruit, or be cut down like a barren fruit tree.
I am discovering that part of the virtue of reading through Luke-Acts is that Jesus gets to hit me right between the eyes. I can’t duck and weave my way around his point. Even the story about the woman afflicted by a spirit is recounted — in the context of the chapter — to highlight the way the Pharisees are missing the point of it all. The kingdom is to be a spreading bower in which God’s creatures take their rest.
Don’t be caught on the outside when the door is closed.
I don’t feel comfortable talking to people the way Jesus did. This is in large part because I am not Jesus. His words are aimed at me, too. He’s not standing next to me and pointing at all you other sinners.
And yet, if I make it all about my own lack of worthiness, do I muzzle the witness of the Bible? Do I make it sound as if Jesus is a spunky Disney snowman who likes warm hugs and would never have a hard word for anyone?
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke 13:1-3, NIV)
Am I being faithful to the witness of Scripture? Do I hide parts of Jesus behind the excuse of humility and fear of conflict?