There are some consistent questions which I hear from the youth in youth group. These are generally the questions which either we have no definitive answer or, more often, the answer is difficult to hear and accept.
This passage touches on one of those most common questions. "If I have a friend who is not a Christian, will they go to heaven"? This has a very difficult answer and I'm sure some people would disagree with me.
To be accepted into heaven and enjoy eternal life with our Father, we must accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior. So, for those following a religion which doesn’t teach Christ's message, they are at a strong disadvantage to making it into heaven.
I was in Montana for the youth mission trip. One day a bunch of us decided to drive ATVs around the farm. One person was driving the ATV at around 20mph for a while... in 1st gear. Anyone who's driven a standard knows that's pretty fast for first gear, and can really hurt a transmission. The driver was told about switching gears, but having never driven before or known what a gear is really for they didn't think it was all that important. I mean, the ATV kept moving right?
It's very hard to accept something which we have been taught nothing about. Even if someone has heard the name Jesus and know generally what 'other people' say about him, without being taught the wonder of His message this person would never know why it's important to accept Him. They would really have a hard time following Him and realizing Him as their personal savior (or even what having a personal savior means).
This passage is letting us know that there is an amazing eternity out there just waiting for us. But we need to be baptized in His name and accept Jesus as our savior. For those people on the fence or not being taught anything about Jesus, we need to patiently do all we can to bring them to Him.