Anyone who thought that being a good citizen of Israel was enough to merit entitlement was in for a great surprise. There will be people who assume they will enter God’s Kingdom on the basis of their nationality or religious history. The Kingdom of God would include the patriarchs who walked in faith, but many would be left out. They will watch foreigners from all over the world come to the Master’s table while they themselves are shut out. They will greatly lament their lost opportunity.
We live in times when people want a pushover god who never says ‘No’. We are surrounded by people who believe they can open a door into God’s Kingdom based on their opinion of God’s loving nature. Jesus says, ‘No! The door will be shut and you will be surprised because you will be a stranger at God’s door.’
This was not the only time Jesus talked about the limitations placed on entry to God’s Kingdom. Many rich people would not find their way in. The door in was compared to a needle’s eye. Anyone following Jesus was expected to accept a death sentence comparable to choosing crucifixion. This was not an easy access Kingdom.
To a people who were exclusively selected to inherit God’s blessing, the fine print now excluded them and gave their invitation to the neighbours and far-off strangers.