Being on the Outside


If you are brave enough, think back to your middle school years. You know, those years when even on your best days your voice cracked, your face broke out, and you spent the entire day wondering what everyone was thinking about you. Those were difficult years because of the great fear of being on the outside—the outside of what? Well, just about anything. The outside of the cool kids, the athletic kids, the smart kids, the musical kids, the techy kids. Thankfully, those days are long gone. But in today’s passage, Jesus addressed an outside that really matters, an outside that is eternal.

  • When was the last time you really thought about eternity and what the Bible has to say about it?


22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1.  As Jesus continued toward Jerusalem, an unnamed person—almost certainly a Jew checking in on his status—asked Jesus a question. What is the question (vs. 23)? Although Jesus spent the rest of the passage explaining, what is the one-word answer to that question?
  2. In verse 26, Jesus implied that there will be people on the outside of the narrow door who are surprised to be there. On what basis did those people assume they were getting in?
  3. What will happen when the door is shut? How will the people on the outside of the door feel and act?
  4. What is the basis of your confidence of an eternity in heaven? Is it church attendance? Is it spiritual lineage? Good deeds? Being “first” for much of your life?


Jesus warned the Jews of the dangers of spiritual elitism: of the failure of simple association to save them. You see, the door is narrow. Only one can pass through at a time. The Jews were not going through as a big group. And neither will we enter by mere association with Christianity. It didn’t matter that the Jews ate, drank, and strolled with Jesus. What mattered was whether or not they believed to their very cores that Jesus was who he said he was. The Jews were God’s chosen people, and yet they had to choose Jesus for themselves—personally and individually. 

  • Ask God to show you whether you are simply associating yourself with Jesus or Christianity or if you truly know Jesus. 
  • Ask God to give you the desire to know Jesus better today and tomorrow and the next day.