“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
It seems like a logical question. There are two ways of answering the question. “Yes” or “No.” But Jesus doesn’t answer the question either way. Why? Because the question assumes a set of criteria that Jesus doesn’t accept.
If Jesus answers, “Yes, only a few people will be saved” what would happen? We would start looking around and trying to figure out who was going to make it and who wouldn’t. A lot of us might give up, figuring that salvation was only for the elite and the perfect. But Jesus teaches “some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
If, instead, Jesus answers, “No, many will be saved” what would happen? I think we would sit back and say to ourselves, “Well then, what is all the fuss about? I’m a pretty decent person. I haven’t murdered anyone so I must be OK.”
Jesus doesn’t answer the question directly because it sets up a standard of salvation and salvation isn’t about requirements. Salvation is a gift and a response to that gift. Jesus says, “People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Therefore it must be easy, right? But he also says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” So it must be tough, right?
We all want to know who is going to heaven, don’t we. How hard is it? What are the requirements? Who meets the standards? But Jesus refuses to answer that kind of question. Look into your heart and as you accept the gift God has given you, you will strive to enter by the narrow gate.