Luke 13:
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
   He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
   “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
   26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
   27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
   28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

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.