We may never know the real reason for the man’s question. But Jesus’ answer does give us a clue. Instead of answering the man directly, he took the opportunity to address the whole group about their personal need for salvation. He said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” What that statement and the subsequent verses revealed was that Jesus was more concerned about each individual’s need than whether great crowds continued to follow him.
Too often we compare the size of our congregation or youth group as if that is the measure of success. Do we really believe that God will reward us for having the largest church in North America? If each one of us could look beyond the number of people in the pews to the needs of each one present, we will have taken a step closer to the heart of our Savior. Like him, we need to care more about the individual needs of each child, teen, and adult he brings across our paths. When we begin doing that, the answer to the first question won’t seem as important anymore.