“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.Matthew 7:13-14 NIV
Jesus paints a picture here of a road with a fork in it. The road down one branch of the fork is like a wide multi-lane highway. It is paved and well-lit with a gentle grade and wide sweeping curves. But the other branch of the fork is quite different. This road is narrow and windy, working its way up a mountainside with a steep drop-off to one side and few pull-outs. The question is, which one will you travel, the narrow gate, or the wide gate?
The Wide Gate
But Jesus meant more than simply comparing a modern Interstate highway with a mountain logging road. He was comparing two ways of life and the destination that awaited at the end of each.
The wide gate is simply the entrance to the road. A road that leads to destruction. This is the easy road. The road that we travel down by default. It takes little effort to travel down this road. Although we may find the road filled with potholes and other obstacles, it is still easier than the alternative.
But, at the end of this road, is destruction, eternal separation from God. And that is the tragedy of this road. There are warning signs galore, but all too often, they are ignored. Until it is too late. And. for every sign that warns of the danger ahead, there are many more that extol the pleasures to be found along the way. And so the warnings are too easily made light of until the end of the road, which often comes unexpectedly.
The Narrow Gate
In contrast to the broad gate and road is the narrow one. This road is hard and requires more effort to follow. While cruise control works on the broad road, it is useless here. You have to stay awake and alert, watching out for danger in the road ahead. But at the end of this road is life. Eternal life with God.
The picture I have painted of this road seems bleak. But God has provided us with a pair of guides to help us to navigate the road. The first is the Bible. It warns us of the dangers and how to successfully meet them. The Bible is an indispensable guide for traveling this road.
But, even more importantly, the Holy Spirit has been given to us to guarantee our safety on the road, and to bring us to the end. When we falter, he is there to pick us up. If we doubt, he will assure us. When our strength gives out, he will pick us up and carry us for a spell. And when the way ahead is unclear, we can count on him to point us in the right direction.
Choose the Path that Leads to Life
Jesus’ invitation is to enter the narrow gate and reject the wide gate. To take the less well-traveled road. The road that leads to life. Do you dare to travel that road with him?
- An Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
- Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:3-12
- Sermon on the Mount: Salt and Light – Matthew 5:13-16
- Sermon on the Mount: Understanding the Law – Matt. 5:17-20
- Sermon on the Mount: Resolving Conflict – Matthew 5:21-26
- Sermon on the Mount: Committing Adultery – Matthew 5:27-30
- Sermon on the Mount: Divorce – Matthew 5:31-32
- Sermon on the Mount: Taking Oaths – Matthew 5:33-37
- Sermon on the Mount: Turn the Other Cheek – Matt. 5:38-42
- Sermon on the Mount: Love Your Enemies – Matthew 5:43-48
- Sermon on the Mount: Give to the Needy – Matthew 6:1-4
- Sermon on the Mount: How to Pray – Matthew 6:5-8
- Sermon on the Mount: the Model Prayer – Matthew 6:9-15
- Sermon on the Mount: Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18
- Sermon on the Mount: Treasure in Heaven – Matthew 6:19-24
- Sermon on the Mount: Do Not Worry – Matthew 6:25-34
- Sermon on the Mount: Do Not Judge – Matthew 7:1-6
- Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, and Knock – Matthew 7:7-12
- Sermon on the Mount: Narrow and Wide Gates – Matt. 7:13-14
- Sermon on the Mount: True and False Disciples – Matt. 7:21-23
- Sermon on the Mount: Build on Rock or Sand? – Matt 7:24-27