There are few who find it? This passage seems to set a nearly hopeless tone for the future, don’t you think? A guy on Facebook recently said that there are only about 2% of the people in the world who are really saved and that the scriptures confirm that we can only expect this since there are “few who find it.”
Is this really what Jesus intended? Are we urged to reach the whole world, but at the same time to expect meager results?
Let the weight of these expansive, inclusive, extraordinary scriptures settle into your heart. Let them speak for themselves:
These scriptures indicate a dramatic difference in the words of Jesus. So which is it? Will there be unprecedented bowed knees, allegiant families, and saved nations? Or will there only be a few people over history that are saved? Did Jesus lie?
WHO ARE THE FEW WHO FIND IT?
So what did Jesus mean that there would only be few who find it? This saying has an historical-cultural referent. Some tend to dismiss the Bible because of seeming shocking contradictions, but a closer examination of the historical context will clarify this (and every) passage.
Jesus is referring to the remnant of Israel that would be saved before the final destruction of the city, the temple, the priesthood and the entire Jewish system. In the overall picture only a few would find it compared to the nation as a whole. This was a promise of hope that in the midst of the final judgment of the nation (Deut. 32) there would be a remnant (a few who would find the gospel, the narrow path, and the small gate.)
There is a path of destruction that most of them would take in killing Jesus, his prophets, and his saints (Mat. 23:34-36), but the destruction that would come on that generation wasn’t without hope. A remnant (a few) would be saved from that destruction by trusting in Christ and fleeing the city when the Roman armies approached (Mat. 24:17-22).
This remnant was also called the first-fruits by James and John, while Paul quotes OT scriptures to declare that those remnant scriptures were being fulfilled in his day. In fact, Romans 11 is devoted to quoting remnant passages leading up to Paul’s grand declaration that “all Israel” would be saved. In what way? The context reveals that it is all the true Israel (Rom. 9:6-9), who were by faith trusting in Christ (Gal. 3:7). The “all Israel” he is referring to are all of the promised remnant, not all of the entire nation:
“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
THE REMNANT WILL BE SAVED.
For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.”
And as Isaiah said before:
“Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed [REMNANT],
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”
As you can see, James calls them firstfruits from the remnant of the 12 tribes being saved in his generation before the Day of the Lord in AD 70. There can only be one first-fruits therefore Revelation’s 144,000 from the 12 tribes is symbolic of the “few who find it” remnant as well.
Therefore, Jesus’ words regarding the many who follow the path of destruction and the few who find the narrow path and gate, is historically the remnant of the Old Covenant people who put their faith in Christ before the destruction of the city and the entirety of the Old Covenant system.
The expectation of who can/will receive Christ is enormous! Preach, teach, and share the good news!!