The Many or the Few
One billion is a very large number. For illustration purposes, if you had one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000), you could spend $69,000 every single day for almost 40 years! For reference, ~$69,000 is the median household income in the United States as of 2019 (according to census.gov). That means half the households in the country earn less than ~$69,000 in an entire year. Imagine being able to spend that much money every day for just shy of 40 years. Let that sink in for a moment. Make no mistake, one billion is a very large number!
Even larger is the number 7,742,383,986. That number is the estimated world population as of February, 10, 2021 at 9:00pm (www.census.gov/popclock). No matter how you slice it, nearly 8 billion people is a whole lot of people. Further realize, this figure only includes those who are living as of this moment. On average the world’s population is increasing at a rate of ~2.5 people every second. Those who have died in the past seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, decades, centuries, and millennia before are not included in this nearly 8 billion person tally. What is my point you ask? It is simply that an unfathomable number of people have lived on this earth since the beginning (Genesis 1:1). However, in light of Matthew 7:13 the idea of ‘many’ people becomes quite disturbing. In this passage Jesus states, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” How many? We aren’t told, but notice that Jesus uses another word to contrast with “many”. That word is few. Verse 14 says, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” How few? Again we aren’t told; however, we do have some Biblical examples of previous days of judgment for reference.
Concerning the flood of Noah’s day, Peter says “a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water” (I Peter 3:20). Before the destruction of Sodom, Abraham pleaded with God to save the city if he could find only fifty righteous people within (Genesis 18:24). That number eventually drops to just ten people (v. 32) and, sadly, in the end only four were spared (19:16). What was the population of the world in Noah’s time? How many people lived in Sodom at the time of its destruction? Regardless of what those populations might have been, we can all agree that either four or eight are but a “few”. Even if there were only a few hundred alive with Noah, only eight surviving is truly awful. If Sodom had little more than 50 living in it, just four being spared is rather jarring. I suspect the actual populations were much larger and thus the percentages being saved were even smaller. Additionally, while prophesying of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus said “many” would fall away, “many” would be mislead, and that the love of “most” would grow cold (Matthew 24:10-13).
Back to the present. Today, nearly 8 billion people are living on the earth. Countless billions have lived here before us. And yet, Jesus says many will be lost and only a few will be saved. That begs the question: which group will you be in? The many or the few? Many, if not most, people believe they will be saved. But notice what Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” Do not misunderstand; God does not want it to be this way! God wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). In fact, He went to great lengths to save man (Romans 5:6-10). Sadly, it is man that fails to keep his end of the bargain. What is man’s part you ask? Look back at Matthew 7:22, Jesus said “he who does the will of my Father...will enter.” Our part is obedience! Notice in Acts 2, when told they had killed the Messiah (v. 36), those gathered on the day of Pentecost asked, “What shall we do?” (v. 37). Peter responded in verse 38, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Do you want to be part of the few who find the way that leads to life? If yes, are you prepared to humbly obey the will of God?