“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).

So far in His manifesto on the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus has shared various contrasts: two kinds of righteousness, two types of devotion, two treasures, two masters and two different ambitions. Seemingly, Jesus is now beginning the conclusion to His sermon with the subject of “Two Ways”. Reminding us of the two ways of Psalm 1 (the way of righteousness and the way of wickedness) He concisely states our very clear choice – the kingdom of this world or the Kingdom of God, the prevailing culture or the counter-cultural Jesus and His way. God’s plan does not allow for more than one option – mankind can not propose an alternative. We have but one choice. This begs the question, which will we choose?

The way to enter into His Kingdom is “through the narrow gate”. Due to its size this narrow gate is easy to miss and so small (like the eye of the needle – Matthew 19:24) it doesn’t allows for us to enter carrying our own accessories (such as self-righteousness, pride, and self-sufficiency). Also ,the term narrow does not have a particularly positive connotation – the phrase “narrow minded” is a classic example – and it is, in most cultural senses, by nature unpopular. The word, as opposed to broad, suggests something difficult, with tight boundaries and restraints. This way is hard but it is the only way (in John 14:6 Jesus calls Himself the only way to God). This road is not crowded as we see that few find it.  Those that follow Jesus and seek after His Kingdom and righteousness have always been, and always will be, in the minority. But, thankfully the narrow does have a glorious gate – Jesus. It is only through Him that the way to life is discovered – life more abundant now (John 10:10) as well as eternal life (John 3:16). This is the reward for following Him and the way of His Kingdom.

The “easy” way is broad. Many find it for it is the way of the majority, the crowd. It is appealing because it has less boundaries or restraints as it allows those that choose this path to live as they are inclined to. This road offers a diversity of options to achieve earthly happiness and rarely meets resistance from the world (and that it is because it is of the world). The broad way is comfortable and appeals to our pride and natural bent toward self-determination and self-will. Our flesh identifies with this way because is requires no sacrifice (including the death of Jesus), no surrender to the will and purpose of the Master, no utter dependence on an omnipotent and holy God. This broad path proclaims that we can take all of our baggage – our sins, arrogance, selfishness, and self-righteousness – with us on this ultimately destructive journey. The broad road is easy only in that it suggests that we can find true life without forsaking ourselves or following anything but our own desires. But this way is false and leads to destruction – separation from God now and forever.

This sounds all too simple, doesn’t it? Two roads and one choice. Two diametrically opposed ways yet one clear alternative. And that God would determine in His wisdom that the narrow gate would be His son’s perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection. Beyond this, it seems incomprehensible that God would choose to make this a reality to unworthy sinners through the mystery of grace and the gift of simple faith. But this is the way that leads to life – this is the way of the Kingdom of Heaven. For He is the gate and surrendering completely to Him is the narrow way that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven and all of the glory it comprises. The Way requires that we must deny ourselves and take up his cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). And the path to this is joyous life is all about yielding, self-denial, selflessness, and loving Him “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30) through faith. Simple, yes, but not easy – it wasn’t for Jesus and it isn’t for us. But is it worth it? Essentially, is He worth it? In the end these questions are paramount – for our answers will determine our future being one of indescribable and joyous eternal life or one of separation from God and eternal destruction.

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