As Jesus becomes known in the towns and villages, people begin to pay attention to Him and listen to what He is saying. They start thinking about the implications of His message. In this context someone asks: “Will only a few people be saved” (Luke 13:23)? This question persists in our own day and there are people who believe that only a select few will be saved and say that you will want to be among ‘the elect’ by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. I would like to offer a different perspective on this point.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t answer the question yes or no. In effect I think He says: “That’s up to you.” He puts it back on to them by saying: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough” (Luke 13: 24).
Will only a few people be saved? If we look at this from the perspective of God’s actions in sending Jesus Christ into human life, it is clear that God’s desire is that all people be saved. God’s love is universal. God shows no partiality.
After encouraging His listeners to enter through the narrow gate, Jesus tells a story to make His point. If the master of the house has locked the door and you come knocking, he will say in effect: ‘I do not know you.’ You can protest that you ate and drank with him but he persists in his stance.
Will only a few people be saved? I think Jesus answers: “That’s up to you.” And he indicates that we may be surprised when we discover who is entering the Kingdom of God.
To enter through the narrow door, we need to stay close to Christ and this is done through the Eucharist where we receive the Body and Blood of Christ as nourishment for love and through the Scriptures which are the living Word of God for us today. So, you might ask, how is it up to us? First, salvation is a gift we accept, not something we earn. Jesus loves us but He leaves us free to accept or reject His love. It is our responsibility to accept this love through participating in the Eucharist and reading the living Word of God. And it is our responsibility to accept this love by sharing it with others. How will we recognize Christ in eternity? You can find the answer in Matthew 25: 31 – 46. “‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?’ And the King will answer: ‘I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did it to the least of my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25: 38 – 40).
Will only a few people be saved? Well, that’s up to you.