Luke 13:22-30: How Many Will Be Saved?
Who is going to be saved and how many will be there? This is a big question which many have asked. Asking the question today in an age like ours has certain other questions attached to it. We live in a global village and are aware of the billions of people who cling to other religious views; what do we do with all the other religions? Are they right or wrong? What about all the “nones” of our own generation who are post-religious but are opting to be philanthropic, vegan/vegetarian, who are all about social justice for the marginalized and who believe that all traditional religions are systems of oppression? Our evolutionary worldview raises other questions that normally have to be answered first before that sort of question can even be asked. Is there a God, who is holy and who will hold sinners accountable? Do we have eternal souls? Is there life after death? Is there a heaven and a hell? We would answer all these questions with a biblical yes, which brings us back then to the first question, how many are going to be saved? And, will I be one of them?
As we move on in Luke’s gospel, this is the very question that Jesus gets asked, 13:23, ‘And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” Our portion begins in v22, ‘He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.’ This is the first note about travelling since 9:51, and please notice the orientation of Christ’s compass. He is heading towards Jerusalem. We are only months away from the crucifixion, and the feeling in the air is tense. Jesus has resisted attempts to be made King, John 6:14-15. Jesus has been alienating the religious authorities by exposing their hypocrisy. Jesus has been telling the Jews that they are sinners and that they will soon be judged. This is all going to come to a head where they will plot to murder Christ. But someone has been listening. Although many have rejected Christ and His message, someone has been listening and understood that a judgement is coming. They see that not many of the Jews are embracing Christ and the question arises, if a judgement is coming and so many people are rejecting Jesus as their Messiah, will only a few be saved? We will see that Jesus does not answer this question directly, but redirects the question and brings several surprising facts about judgement to light. We will look at Christ’s answer under two headings, the difficulty of salvation and the reality of judgement.