Luke 13:22-35 The Narrow Way Of Faith.
Luke reminds us that the context of what follows is Jesus “journeying toward Jerusalem” (v. 22). “The Jews generally agreed that all Israel (except for a few especially sinful people) would be in the number of the saved” (NGSB, p. 1632). In this context Jesus delivers a contrary message. As the Master of the house that many presumed to be entering, He made clear that being in its precincts was not enough, only those who had faith evidenced by a changed life would ultimately find His house a home (vv. 23-27 Cf. 6:46; Mt. 7:23). No one would be able to simply claim physical lineage to Abraham. The Patriarchs and the prophets were in the kingdom of God by faith (v. 28). Likewise, those who are of faith will come from all over the world to sit with these men of faith (v. 29).
It is in this context of the development of salvation history and the expansion of the gospel to the nations that Jesus says, “there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last” (v. 30). There is to be a dynamic here which Paul picked up on when he wrote that it was his hope and prayer that the ingathering of the Gentiles would cause jealousy among his countrymen (Cf. Romans 9-11). Faith is a narrow way for it allows for no admittance of any works or efforts of humans at all (v. 24 Cf. Mt. 7:13-14). It is all of God’s grace. No amount of knocking will get one in (v. 25). In Matthew’s account there was a time for knocking, asking, and seeking for God and His help, but it would pass (7:7-12). There is no other way into salvation but by faith (Cf. Eph. 2:8-9).
Jesus’ hearers indeed still had Him with them (v. 26), but as He headed toward Jerusalem He knew He would not be with them much longer (Cf. Jn. 7:34; 8:21). By some Pharisees warning Him of Pilate’s desire to kill Him (v. 31), at least some of them knew this as well. His message to His children was the same as to the Jews, albeit with a different purpose. “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you” (Jn. 13:33). We do not know the status of these Pharisees, but by Jesus’ response these may have been among the few Pharisees who believed (v. 32). We have no question from them of the perfection of the third day (v. 33). Did they know what He meant?
Jesus would be perfected when the Father would accept His sacrifice and raise Him on the third day-in Jerusalem (vv. 32-33 Cf. 24:46). He was the Prophet who would die as a Priest offering the sacrifice of Himself, to then be exalted to reign as King at the right hand of the Father. However, in the mean time, Jesus would weep over Jerusalem, because instead of receiving the narrow way of faith delivered by the prophets, they killed the prophets who were sent to her (v. 34). Those who have faith declare, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD” (v. 35b Cf. 19:38; Ps. 118:26)! Then the Master of the house would say to the others, “Your house is left to you desolate” (v. 35a Cf. Lev. 26:31-32). The temple would find fulfillment in Him (Cf. Dan. 9:26-27).