“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
– Matthew 7:13-14 (Jesus speaking; our 23rd segment of the Sermon on the Mount)
Remember that Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount to His disciples who came to Him. He was a Jew; they were Jews. They believed Him to be a prophet of God; they were coming to hear what He had to say.
Jesus was teaching about the kingdom of God – a phrase that spoke of the fulfillment of God’s promises regarding Messiah and all the good and great things God had promised to do through Messiah. Jews looked forward to the kingdom of God and yearned for a place in it. Imagine then what they must have thought and felt upon hearing that entrance into this kingdom would be rare – that is, few people would find it. Surely, they would have been surprised – and all the more so when taken in the context of what Jesus said immediately before this.
Recall from yesterday that Jesus had just said:
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
– Matthew 7:12
What principle of life could be more widely known, or, if not more widely known, more easily understood and communicated, than: “treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” And yet, “few” are the people who will make it into a kingdom based on this principle! Say it ain’t so. What could this possibly mean?
What this means is that most of us are hypocrites. We say things that we don’t do. We judge other people according to standards we don’t keep ourselves. This is why few people find their way into the kingdom of God in this life. Only when they die, do they wake up.
The “small gate” and “narrow way” that leads to life is Jesus Himself. He said:
…” I am the way, and the truth, and the life…”
– John 14:6
If more of us imitated Jesus, more of us would experience the kingdom of God.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, show me where my thinking is out of alignment with Yours…day by day…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)