Saturday, May 03, 2008

Will only a few be saved?

As Jesus journeyed closer to the cross, fewer were interested in following him. To a disciple, this must have been troubling. Where had the eager crowds gone? The resultant question, then, is understandable. "Lord, are there few who are saved?" (Luke 13:23). It may be that the questioner was frustrated with the current lack of response. Jesus had been preaching the truth that all needed to hear. Why then were so few responding? Perhaps it was the cost of discipleship (Luke 12:49-53) or need for repentance (Luke 13:1-5) that caused them to hold back.

We may never know the real reason for the man's question. But Jesus' answer does give us a clue. Instead of answering the man directly, he took the opportunity to address the whole group about their personal need for salvation. He said, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." What that statement and the subsequent verses revealed was that Jesus was more concerned about each individual's need than whether great crowds continued to follow him.

Too often we compare the size of our congregation or youth group as if that is the measure of success. Do we really believe that God will reward us for having the largest church in North America? If each one of us could look beyond the number of people in the pews to the needs of each one present, we will have taken a step closer to the heart of our Savior. Like him, we need to care more about the individual needs of each child, teen, and adult he brings across our paths. When we begin doing that, the answer to the first question won't seem as important anymore.

1 comment:

EggsnGrits said...

I firmly believe that numbers mean little to God. The people that are saved are saved. There is no limit, there are no quotas. Everyone that God intends to live with Him in eternity will enter.

The only fly in this ointment is mention of the 144,000 names in Revelation 7 and Revelation 14. If you take this as most do, you apply 144,000 as "a whole bunch" rather than an exact number, remembering that the Jews had no concept of infinity in their culture. The 12 x 12 x 1000 is a pretty good approximation of what we may term "millions" or "gazillions" in English today. I'm not sure. I still think that 144,000 means something or it wouldn't be there, but I'm unsure what.

God will take all that should be taken. Debating the amount is somewhat academic.