Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What were the best seats you’ve ever had to an event like a concert, baseball game, or stage play? Why were those the best seats? What are some ways people manage to get front row seats to big events?
2. Think of an event at a stadium or auditorium. What are some factors that determine how many people get in?
Read Luke 13:22-24.
1. Look at the question in verse 23. Now read it aloud in a “snobby” voice. If it were asked that way, what might have been the motive for asking it? What are some of the most common reactions people have when invited to an event they consider exclusive?
2. The question required only a “yes” or “no” answer. If Jesus perceived that the person who asked the question asked out of arrogance, what do you think Jesus was implying by his answer?
3. Compare the way the word door is used in verse 24 to the way the word gate is used in John 10:1-3, 7. If the same entryway is being referred to in Luke 13 and John 10, how does that change the way you view Jesus’ response? Name a privilege that someone might receive just because they “know somebody.”
Read Luke 13:25-27.
4. What is meant when something is called a “limited time offer?” Why can a call to salvation be described that way? When is the “expiration date” (the time when the owner closes the door, v. 25)?
5. When someone is treated in a way he or she considers unfair, that person might shout, “Don’t you know who I am?” Expand the dialogue in verse 26 to include that exclamation and other words a person in that situation might say in his or her defense. What was Jesus’ reply? Why do you think he responded that way?
Read Luke 13:28-30.
6. Who does Jesus picture as having entered God’s kingdom? Which of these are expected? Which are surprising? Note that Jesus did not merely say that some will not be let into the kingdom of Heaven, but that some would be thrown out (v. 28). With that in mind, whom do you think Jesus may have been talking about?
7. A line from an old spiritual says, “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout Heaven ain’t goin’ there.” Why would that be a good theme song for this teaching of Jesus? How can we know that we are going to Heaven and not just spouting religious talk?