Passage: Matthew 7:13-14 [NKJV
Mat 7:13 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
Mat 7:14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."[NLT]
Jesus’ hearers would have been familiar with the image of “two ways” — one leading to life and the other to death; it was common in Judaism. Jesus’ emphasis that few are on the right way occurs in 4 Ezra but is not as common as the general image of the two ways. Most Jewish people believed that Israel as a whole would be saved and that the few who were lost would be exceptions to the general rule.
IVP Bible Background Commentary
After reading this passage I envisioned a hike to a high place, like a mountain top. Hiking is generally considered difficult; a tough walk or climb to reach a goal or the reward of a marvelous view. Some do it for the reward, some for the physical benefits of the hike itself. Others may do it to please a friend who is "into hiking" while others may do it simply to be able to say that they had.
Climbing Mt. Everest would definitely be considered a tough climb. There's really nothing easy about it. They have made movies about people who made it their life's work to "conquer the mountain". Hundreds of people have died in the attempt to reach the top. Those who reach the top are not only elated about the accomplishment, but are rewarded with a view of the world that few get to experience.
What if you could simply take an elevator to the top of Mt. Everest? What if riding that elevator was free?
I think that many people would suddenly be "conquering the mountain". The elevator would be full of people who want the experience of being at the top of Mt. Everest without having to go through the struggle, the climb; the fight to reach the top. Why bother? I can have the "reward" without all that mess and planning and physical sacrifice. I don't have to bother with all that heavy climbing gear or the expense of all the equipment.
Let's contrast this scenario with the passage. What is Jesus saying to us?
He is simply saying that the road (hike, climb) to God's Kingdom is not easy. Few will choose to take the road because it is a tough road to take. They will "choose the elevator" over the climb. The wide road (elevator) with the easy gate to go through is attractive; many choose to go that way because they think it is taking them to the reward; it isn't.
What might be some present day examples of this?
Consider many churches today that have mingled so much of the world into their teachings and practices. They say it is to "attract" more people to the fold...but maybe they are just giving them an easy road; a wide gate; a simple journey to the goal instead of sharing the truth with them that it won't be easy. They don't teach sacrifice for God's Kingdom, but sacrifice to gain a blessing. Planting "seed money" that God will surely grow for you into a bountiful harvest of wealth and happiness; fast cars and big homes. They paint the road to Christ as a simple matter to be taken lightly and entered into as easily as pushing a button on an elevator door and walking in. This is not the picture that Jesus paints...
He is very clear on this matter. Choosing God's Kingdom over satan's kingdom is not a simple thing. The world will hate you if you choose to follow Christ. He tells us that we cannot walk on two roads at the same time...and that many will betray Him and hate him and those who follow him.
Consider these things dear friend and ask yourself...Am I with Christ because I love Him with all my heart, soul and mind; or, am I claiming Christianity as an easy title to be a part of the crowd? Are you "spiritual but not religious"?
Thank you so much for loving me enough to tell me the truth. Thank you for giving me Your Word so that I can know You better and learn to walk in Your Ways. Lord, the road is not easy sometimes, but I know that you want me to take it because the reward is that we get to be together for eternity. I really don't want to give that up for the easy things of this world so Father I ask that you hold on to me and keep me under your protection and help me to stay on Your road.
Please keep my family safe and always work on their hearts. Forgive me of my selfishness and make in me a new heart that guides me into decisions that only glorify You Lord.
Thank you for being the Great Provider. Thank you for everything that I have and all that you supply. Dwell in my heart today. I ask these things in Jesus precious name. Amen.