12.02.03 Lk. 13:22-35 Perea
HOW MANY WILL BE SAVED?
22 He went through one town and village after another, teaching and making His way to Jerusalem. 23 “Lord,” someone asked Him, “are there few being saved?”
He said to them,
24 “Make every effort to enter
through the narrow door, because I tell you,
many will try to enter and won’t be able.
25 once the owner of the house gets up and shuts the door.
Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying,
‘Lord, open up for us.’
He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.’
26 Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’
27 But He will say,
I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from.
Get away from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness!’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out. 29 They will come from east and west, from north and south, and recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 30 Note this: Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
31 At that time some Pharisees came and told Him, “Go, get out of here! Herod wants to kill You!”
32 He said to them, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look!
I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and
on the third day I will complete My work.’
33 Yet I must travel today,
the next day, because it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem!
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
She who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her.
How often I wanted to
gather your children together,
as a hen
gathers her chicks under her wings,
but you were not willing! 35 See, your house is abandoned to you. And I tell you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One’” (Ps. 118:26)!
In this discourse someone asked Jesus how many, or how few, would be saved. An insightful teacher can estimate how much a person knows, not by the answers given, but by the questions asked. In this case, Jesus understood that this person was beginning to wonder if the assumption was true that all Jews would be saved. This was a hot issue among the rabbis, as the legalistic Pharisees believed that only those who conformed to their legalism would be saved, while other Pharisees were far more compassionate and caring for the common Jewish people. Possibly the only issue they agreed on was that all Gentiles were lost, except for those who kept the Noahide Commandments or converted to Judaism.
Jesus made it clear that only those who placed their faith in Him would be saved. Others, who refuse to do so, will recognize Him with pain and grief on the Day of Judgment. Jesus said there will be Jews in eternal torment who will be able to briefly see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before being thrown out. This was in sharp contrast to the prevailing belief that said that because they were descendants of Abraham, they were given eternal security. In essence, the Pharisees said that for Jewish people, the door was wide open and the road was broad that leads to heaven and for everyone else it was closed – but Jesus clearly disagreed.
Furthermore, all Jews expected to enjoy the heavenly messianic banquet with their patriarchal forefathers. Much to the surprise of His listeners, Jesus told them that Gentiles will be there as well. He also said that people would come to Him, “from east and west, from north and south,” which obviously refers to Gentiles. The Assyrians and Babylonians had taken their forefathers captive and relocated them far to the east. But the Gentiles completely encircled them and, therefore, these four compass directions could have only one meaning: Jesus was telling them that Gentiles would be coming from every direction in the world. The thought of a Gentile being at this banquet was totally unimaginable to them.
It is important at this point to clarify a significant point. Throughout Church history, there has been a misconception that all the Jews were always against Jesus, especially at His crucifixion. However, the gospels clearly indicate otherwise. Some informed Him that “Herod [Antipas] wants to kill you.” In fact, the believing Pharisees on several occasions warned Him of impending danger.
- The Pharisees come to warn Jesus that Herod wants to kill him. “Herod Antipas is looking to get his hands on you.”
- They warned Him when they were coming down from the Mount of Olives.
- They warned Him when the crowds were saying, “Hosanna, Hosanna.” This could have been said with a reasonable degree of safety in Galilee, but to say this in Jerusalem would be cause for a potentially explosive situation.
- There was a sincere interest on the part of Jesus’ contemporaries concerning His safety. This demonstrates that within the community of Pharisees there were those who were concerned for the safety of Jesus, while others desired to kill Him. Yet nowhere in the gospels is there any evidence that Jesus broke a single written Law of Moses. His enemies desired to kill Him because He broke their Oral laws.
“I must travel today, tomorrow, and the next day.” This phrase is not to be taken literally, but is a Hebraic way of saying that when His work was finished, then He would go. A similar term is “in three days and one” or “in seven days and one.” These phrases refer to a time when one’s work is completed.
“Because it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem!” Again, Jesus makes use of irony in His discussion. He has a three-day walk from the Galilee area to Jerusalem, where He must go to die. Jerusalem, known as the “city of God” and “the city of the prophets,” was the natural place for the Son of God to die, as many prophets had done in the past.
“Your house is abandoned to you.” This was a specific reference to the coming destruction of the temple and Jerusalem four decades later in A.D. 70. How interesting that the Jews had established extremely rigid regulations in order to secure their place in the land of Judaea/Israel, so they would never be exiled again. Yet, it was because of these regulations that they rejected Jesus and, within a century, the majority of them were either killed or forcibly removed from Jerusalem.
. The Noahide Commandments are based upon the Book of Genesis and are found in Appendix 17.
. Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 2:254.
. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 17, page 12.
. However, one scholar suggests that this may have been a trap because Jesus was in Perea and outside of the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin. However, this writer believes that if it were a trap, Jesus would have responded differently. See Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 17, page 13.
. Bookman, When God Wore Sandals. CD Trac 10.
. More than seven centuries after Jesus the Muslims referred to Jerusalem as the city of the prophets.
. General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and burned the temple in A.D. 70, and Hadrian destroyed the temple again in A.D. 135, at which time he evicted every Jew from the city.