Skinny Door

We’re reading Luke 13:22-30 this Sunday.

I remember several years ago that Robbie and I had to fly out west because of a family emergency, a family member had died.  Our flight locally was delayed, and we had a very short layover for our connecting flight. We raced through the airport only to get to the gate just as they closed the door. We ran up and asked to be let on board, but the attendants were unmovable. The rules state that once the door is closed no one else is allowed on. But we begged, saying the plane is still here, the ramp is still connected! Sorry, the rules say no one gets on. There we were, tickets for that flight in hand, no checked baggage, straight from another flight so already passed through security…but still barred from entrance.

We were so frustrated…furious at the insensitivity and senselessness of such impersonal treatment.  We vowed never to fly with that airline again…and but for a few exceptions, have been pretty successful at avoiding them. Ever go through something like that and felt the incredulity of how unfair it all felt?

It’s strange, then, that Jesus tells a story that seems to carry that kind of sentiment to it in the passage we’ll be reading this Sunday. Someone asks a question about salvation…but what did HE mean by salvation?  Was it the same thing WE mean?

What does the image of a narrow door speak to you?  How would you interpret his meaning to your own life?

What is the basis for the Master of the house not letting the latecomers in? What is his reason for sending them away?  Who DOES get in? How would you interpret a saying like “the last shall be first and the first shall be last”?

Lots to think about…hope to see you Sunday!

8 comments

  1. I always thought this was a fairly harsh passage…and in some ways i still think it is. but the Peterson’s interpretation really helped me put it in perspective. the idea that someone from my neighborhood, that i don’t know at all, would come up and randomly ask to eat dinner with us….I would probably (and hopefully lovingly) turn he/she away. Not because i am mad at them or even think they are a bad person….i just simply don’t know them.

    i just pray that Jesus knows me as more than just a random neighbor, but as someone who is always welcome to his dinner parties

  2. I think it all comes down to having a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus as to who enters in the narrow door into the Kingdom. Having a relationship with Jesus is very different from just knowing He exists. Also, I think “narrow” means difficult, requiring effort, not easy. What does it require to have a relationship with someone? Giving of yourself and putting the other person’s needs above your own needs. We can ony get this sacrificial love from a relationship with Christ. I can only get through that narrow door with Jesus holding my hand.

  3. Several years ago I was flying out west during the holidays and had a layover in Chicago. It was completely snowed in. I had a couple hour layover so I was only delayed. But as I waited I saw exactly the same thing happen to a lady that you described. I wondered why they never opened the door and let her board. She was HOT as fire.

    As I read your discussion and reread the verses I though about the fact that these people say they ate and drank in His pressence and He taught in their streets. Now I know they didn’t say, we ate and drank at Your table with you and we heard and listened as you taught, but I began to wonder about what has gone on and continues to go on in the churches. I would believe that our community at Eastgate has a number of people who came from church experiences that were afraid to teach a narrow way that Jesus describes. (I think His narrow way is paved with love and self sacrifice even for those that are our enemies. And if that is just the road pavement, what do the buildings look like?) I just heard of a friend of mine who went to a christian spiritual advisor (aligned with a large major demonination) to learn how to pray. They are teaching my friend how to pray that they learn to love THEMSELF the way God loves them. Maybe I am off here, compared to loving your neighbor or your enemies, that seems like a boarder path. My point here is if that is what is sometimes being taught, it is no wonder the Master does not know them when they knock on the door.

  4. I am reminded that if I got what was fair or what I deserved I would not be entering any door to recline at the banquet table with the King. I fall short of the perfection that He requires,its only by His grace and His work on the cross and the blood that paid for my sins that I am righteous before a Just and Holy God. Jesus is the only way,the only door to the Kingdom if you will.The good news is today that even though that entrance is narrow…it is wide open and He is not willing that any should perish but there will come a time like with Noah and the ark..that the entry will be closed and bolted and there will be many who then want in.If I really stop and consider this reality it brings an urgency to my sharing the Hope I was given.It does seem odd that they “claimed” to have ate and drank with Him and were aware of His teachings but He does not even know where they are from,not a lot of sharing going on during that meal I guess.Like Golda pointed out… not to much relationship there! God’s Word says every tribe and tongue and people and nation will be represented,that covers the whole east and west north and south thing,a definate possibility in our wired.. real time..day and age!!

  5. Wow, great comments all! This set of verses makes me think, what if we think we know but we don’t really know? For so many years (as a believer) I thought I knew. I thought I knew how to pray. I thought I knew how to give. I thought I understand how to serve. I thought I knew who was in and who was out. I thought I knew what Jesus meant when he said what he said and I thought I knew what God thought. Really crazy when you think about it; me believing that I know what God thinks. For many of us, that is our assurance — there lies our “salvation”. We are comforted by the idea that we know how this thing called Christianity works, and rest at night just knowing that God agrees with our conclusions. It seems the same here in these verses. This is much like Matthew 7, “many will call me Lord, but won’t enter into the kingdom.” Again, for those of us sure we know, we can identify those Jesus was warning. Even if we won’t make that leap, we are sure of one thing…. it’s not us. For me, this verse does stand as a warning. It’s a warning against thinking we know the mind of God; thinking that God will use our scales of justice as his own; of thinking that because we are fluent and comfortable in and around “the things of God” that we speak the same language as God. Yes, the way to God is narrow and there will be few that find it. God have mercy on those of us that tried to make the door narrower than God intended.

  6. I was sitting in my car praying a couple of years ago and looked up to see the wooded area in front of me. It was full of rows of pine trees. In between the rows was what appeared to be a strait and narrow path. You could have walked in between the trees on the path but it would have required some effort as the brush was growing up trying to block the path. The word strait in the concordance means, narrow, from obstacles standing close about. It seemed a sharp knife or sword would have helped clear the path, I thought of God’s word also know as the sword of the spirit that He has provided to help us navigate this cluttered path. Saved in Luke 13 means, safe, deliver or protect, heal, preserve, do well, make whole. In traveling this narrow path filled with obstacles we have to draw close to Him who is able to “save” us. The word says those who seek Him with their whole heart will find Him. Also that we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. These things point to more than just a halfhearted knowing about God but rather a persistent determined pressing on and in to know Him. This passage from one of Joni Erickson’s books seems to describe our journey well, she writes about God’s path as “the wiser choice, the better answer, the harder yet richer path”.

  7. It not about “who I know” its about who knows me. Jesus stated depart from me “I never knew you” it was not me stating “I never knew Him”. The emphasis is on Christ and who He knows it is a unilateral realtionship bestowed by King to subject, Savior to friend, Lord to servant. Jesus is the “door” and it is by Him only that one enter in. We love him becasue he first loved us, it is he that works to will and do his good pleasure in us then only can we work out our salvation.

  8. In your sermon you raised a question about those who have not heard about Jesus. I think Paul addresses this question in Romans 1:18-21. He states that they are “without excuse” for God’s eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world. Due to the fall and our sinful nature many have rejected God and turned to idols. However, we can rest assured that those who He has chosen to save through his grace and faith alone will not perish (Ephesians 1:4-7).

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