Book Reflection // December 31, 2022 // View Series
The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice
Chapter 8 // Luke 13:22-30
The parable of Jesus that we are considering in this chapter of Boice’s book may be less of a parable and more similar to an expanded illustration. This parable of the narrow door of salvation is in response to a question from someone who was apparently in the crowd during one of the many teaching stops that Jesus made in the various towns and villages along his journey to Jerusalem. The question is simple enough really, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” The questioner was likely interested in the theological speculation of the answer. Maybe even wondering where he stood at the moment. Trying to decide if he really needed to worry about this gospel good news that Jesus was preaching. If everyone is going to heaven, then why in the world would someone need to worry about this at all? Jesus being Jesus… He answers the question put before him without giving the answer in the expected format. Surely the questioner was just looking for a simple yes or no, a quick answer to then move on. The answer Jesus gives redirects the questioner, and ourselves, to the heart of the question. The heart of the question being our very own heart. We need not worry about the numbers of people that may or may not be in heaven. We should rather focus on our own heart and our entry into His heavenly kingdom. In this parable, Jesus will refocus our attention not on the numbers who will ultimately be saved but on three main issues: there is only one narrow door, that door is now open but will close soon enough, and our duty is to enter.
I Am the Door
Jesus begins his answer to the question by stating that the questioner (all of us) must strive to enter through the narrow door. What does Jesus mean by this? Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus says multiple times, “I am the door.” Or again he says, “I am the way, and the ruth, and the life.” This door that Jesus offers up is none other than Jesus himself. It’s of vital importance that we understand that Jesus is the entry point to salvation. It’s important to consider that Jesus is not showing the way to God, but that he is the way to God. This is seen by his use of the adjective, narrow. This narrow door is the key concept to understand that the world may offer up multiple various doors that seem correct, but there is only one door… one narrow door that is Jesus. What does Jesus mean that we must enter through this narrow door? He means that we must all do away with our feeble attempts to rectify the problem of sin in our life. We must cast aside any thought that we can atone for and remove the plethora of sin that stains every fiber of our soul. We must come to this narrow door and enter through the perfect life and sacrifice of Jesus. He has paid for our every sin and when we enter through that narrow door, our sins are removed and the righteousness of Christ is laid upon us. Forgiveness and reconciliation are ours through Christ alone.
The Door is Open
The interesting thing about this narrow door is that it is also broad in the sense that anyone may enter it. This doesn’t mean that anyone can enter by any means they see fit. No, the broadness of the door is that anyone may enter through the door in the same manner as everyone else. All who enter through the narrow door of Christ must come through in humble repentance, trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation. This is the broadness of the door. It doesn’t matter what race or culture you may be a part of. Your financial status is of no concern. The narrow door of Jesus is open to anyone and everyone who will repent and believe. All those who will cease their striving to perform and simply trust in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their salvation may enter. The beauty of this narrow door is that it is really that simple and it is open to everyone. Yet, the parable is clear that the narrow door will be shut in due time. When the time has come, the Father will shut the narrow door and the broadness of the door will be closed off. Once the door is closed, it will not be reopened. So there is an urgency to enter now, this very moment. We cannot wait and hope to be dragged into this door at the very last moment or when it is most convenient for us. We must enter this narrow door of our own volition and we must come trusting only in the righteous blood of Christ alone.
Strive to Enter
Lastly, Jesus tells us that we must strive to enter through this narrow door. Strive is an interesting word because we are not meant to interpret this as we must therefore contribute something to our salvation. What Jesus means by striving to enter through this singular narrow door is that we must lay aside everything in this life that hinders us from entering through this door of Christ alone. If there is anything that is distracting us from trusting Christ, toss it away. If there is anything that adds human ability to the door of salvation, cast it aside. If there are any teachings that offer another opportunity or another path to salvation other than this narrow door of Christ, then you must turn and run from it as quickly as you can. You must strive to enter the narrow door of Christ. It takes hard work to stay on the true path. It takes perseverance to put yourself in the Word of God daily, to pray and communicate with Christ continually, and to abide in the heart of Jesus every moment of every day. We must strive and fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. These three are seeking to do us harm and to stop us from entering this narrow door. We must strive with all our might to simply trust in the grace and mercy of Christ alone for salvation. Then we will be part of that final number in heaven with Christ forever and ever.
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (ESV)John 10:9