Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.
Someone asked Him, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" He replied,
"Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.
When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Lord, open the door for us!' But He will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'
Then you will say, 'But we ate and drank with You, and You taught in our streets.'
And He will reply, 'I tell you, I don't know you or where you come from. Get away from Me, all you who do evil.'
"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out.
And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God.
And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then." (Luke 13:22-30)
This constitutes a definite break in the action. We appear to have left behind the crowds etc, who have been with Jesus over the last chapters, from Luke 9:51 to the end of the woman who was healed in the last segment. Many commentators see this as a continuation of the journey begun in Luke 9:51. Jesus is setting His sights on Jerusalem again. He is back on the teaching trail again. And bear in mind, Luke is not just saying that Jesus is taking a journey to a geographical city called Jerusalem. No, what is meant here is not a pleasant visit to the big city. "Jerusalem" symbolizes all that will happen there and the culmination of His ministry, which Luke states succinctly in Luke 19:10, along with all that means. All of this current teaching is geared toward that. The conversations that Jesus has along the way, the questions that are asked of Him, all add to the total picture in Luke. Pay careful attention to the whole as well as the parts.
Note the content of this segment could almost be a continuation of the themes that were linked with the Fig Tree and the "Bent" Woman. But it is not like the crowd with Him have continued along. The picture I have in my mind is one of a crowd staying with Him for a period of time, following along picking up on all they can, for as long as they can stay with Him. As long as He is in their area, they follow. They can always get lodging with relatives and friends. But sooner or later, their connectedness with the area runs out and it is harder to follow, and so that segment of the crowd part company and a mixed crowd takes their place. I don't know if the person who asked Him this latest question: "Lord, will only a few be saved?" had been with him prior to this or not. It appears that the thematic links are still there. Given the nature of what we have talked about before, this could be a continuation of the same theme. Note too the element – "when the master of the house has locked the door". It could almost be the master of the house we met in Luke 12, but I don't think so. I think Jesus is just simply answering a new question, but Luke has carefully selected the elements and arranged them to develop the theme of the ascent to Jerusalem. Everything fits; not chronologically but thematically. I have told you that over and over. Luke has told us that at the beginning when we eavesdropped on his comments to Theophilus.
These are all elements Luke and Matthew share together:
The narrow and broad way (Matt 7:13-14)
Shutting the door (reminiscent of Matt 7:21-23)
Eating and drinking
Weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8:12 or 24:51)
Luke has cut down the amount of content and kept the statements short and sharp to develop his theme and make it more succinct. I also think there maybe another possible link here. There are two sections found in Matthew, which could be the parallel to the weeping and gnashing of teeth in Luke. I have listed them above. But notice that one of them comes from the story of the servants waiting for the bridegroom to return, which Luke used in Luke 12, but didn’t specifically use that reference. Yet a chapter later, it surfaces in a similar setting which also refers to the master shutting the door. Interesting! But I won't press it too much. Ask Luke when you see him.
Moral of the story: work hard to enter into the Kingdom on Kingdom terms, not your own. The way is narrow and not as broad and open as you think. Recalling the past punch line from the Fig Tree, the first step is repentance. Make sure you have a relationship with the bridegroom. If not He will say, "I don't know you."
"But we ate and drank with you".
I can imagine Jesus saying, "No, you ate and drank for yourselves and remember, you kept complaining who I was eating and drinking with. You just happened to be there on the edge, but not part of it."
"But you taught in our streets, we remember you coming by our town."
"Yes, but you took none of my teaching on board. You remained aloof from me. Those who DO My will and practice My Word are part of me. I don't know you. Get away from Me (depart from Me) you who do and keep doing evil."
"People will come from east, west, north and south" – sounds reminiscent of the birds nesting in the mustard tree? "The Gentiles will come and be part of it. You (Jews) will see Abraham. Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets of the Kingdom take their place in the wedding banquet; BUT YOU WON'T BE PART OF IT". Maybe it even links back to the daughter of Abraham who was blessed, healed and made part of the Kingdom, but all those who sided with the ruler of the synagogue were excluded.
In these segments in Luke on this theme, it is like there is often a question asked, a response to it from Jesus, often with a parable or a story or an allusion and then a punch line. The punchline in this case comes in verse 30 - "Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then."
I won't make any more comment. Time for you to weigh it up, apply it yourself and come to your own conclusions.
You say, 'I'd like to have a closer relationship with God, but I'm so busy.' The truth is, you are as close to God as you desire and discipline yourself to be! Bob Gass
Your salvation wasn't a joint effort. You didn't contribute a penny because you were spiritually bankrupt. Bob Gass
Jesus is NOT my crutch - I'm FAR MORE DEPENDENT on Him that that! I can’t even guarantee my next breath without God's grace. Rick Warren
Jesus took time to heal the ear of the enemy arresting him! Would I? Are you too busy / angry to help an enemy bleeding today? Ian