22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, 24 "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 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.' 26 "Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' 27 "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!' 28 "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 you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."
Thoughts: The narrow door is built to keep the enemies out, and is easily defended. Matthew 7:13,14 speaks of a narrow way and a wide way, and that many go along the wide way. Truth is usually smaller than we might wish it to be. A narrow door like the one pictured to the left can only be entered one at a time, and even then uncomfortably. Many in Jesus day thought that because they knew who Jesus was, and even entertained him in their house, that this meant they were his followers, and would be saved by him. Today many think that because their parents or grandparents were Christians, and they are not Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or actively atheist- and because when they pray they may pray to Jesus, that they are therefore followers- and will enter the narrow door. There is a sharp distinction between knowing about Jesus and having a relationship with Him. As James says, the demons know about Christ (but that doesn't mean they are saved). Perhaps the difference can be defined by trust- do we trust in Him? Perhaps the difference can be seen in what Jesus describes as the first commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Anybody can say they believe, but it is another thing to trust and love God- having a relationship with Him. The image of being born again fits here too- going from one side (the womb) through the door of the birth canal to the other side. A result of belief is this transformation of how we look at life. Yesterday, CNN reported president Obama went to church for the first time in six months. In reaction to this article, many said (in effect), "what difference does someone's religious practice make for their ability to be president?" That perhaps indicates the problem and weakness of religion in American life. For faith in Christ is a narrow door that squeezes out dishonesty, insincerity, coldness of heart, and changes us into better people- thus better politicians, better business people, better moms and dads, better dogcatchers. If we are not changed by Christ's love and following the narrow way of truth, then maybe we should question whether our faith is still going in the broad way of destruction.
Prayer: Lord, may I follow you through the narrow door of truth. May my love for you and trust in you be the rope that leads me through the dark of life into the narrow way to the other side. May my life today, Lord, reflect my love for you.
John Calvin abridged- from Geneva notes: Christ here speaks against those who had rather err with many than go right with a few, and because of this through their own indifference they are shut out of the kingdom of God. It is vain to be in the Church if one is not of the Church; and whether or not one is in the Church is shown by the purity of life.