The two parables tie in with these subsequent verses. The nominal Church will seem to be very large, but in the final analysis, few will get life as a result of the Gospel Age. The disciples got the point and one asked, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” The answer was yes in regard to the high calling—and even in regard to the Great Company compared to the vast majority of tares in the nominal Church. The disciples realized the mustard seed and the leaven were unfavorable.
Jesus was en route to Jerusalem when this question was asked. He replied, “Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait [narrow] gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Athletes who excel agonize in their sport because they push themselves to the very limit. The “many” who will not be able to enter in are the majority. This is especially true in principle in the beginning when the Adversary tries to discourage consecration and entering the race for the prize of the high calling.
Verses 24-30 are a reminder of the Wise and Foolish Virgins Parable. Jesus did not answer the question (verse 23) directly but gave a parable, implying that few would be saved. If the question and parable are considered from the standpoint of the feet members and the end of the Church’s course, the entering in would pertain to the marriage. There is a hard test in the beginning of our consecrated walk as well as toward the end. For example, Abraham had to leave his home country in the beginning, and later he had a severe test with Isaac.
An agonizing attitude is necessary to get through the narrow gate or aperture and thus make our calling and election sure. Jesus was referring to getting the prize of the high calling, to the marriage—to glory, honor, and immortality. The agonizing attitude must be maintained and preserved.