The narrow Gate
The Narrow Gate
The people of Jesus' time would have understood the comparison. If you built a city in those days, it would have a strong, fortified wall about it. Into that wall you would set gates. Gates could be of two types:
· The broad gate was one which was designed to promote commerce. The merchants came in and out of these. They were closed at sunset, and opened at sunrise.
· The narrow gate was designed for defense. It was usually not open at all; during times of attack it was easy to defend and also served as a useful sally port.
From that alone you can see that a narrow gate was the hard way to get into the city.
Christ here points out to us that all have two choices in life. We'd like to believe there are many options; in fact, there are two. One of them is the way of life. All the others can be lumped together, making a broad way and wide gate, leading to hell. Is this really so unexpected? Most of life's problems have many answers—but only one right one. As your father taught you, the hard way is usually the right way.
The words our Lord uses here have some descriptive power:
· The word for "small" (strait in the King James) does mean narrow—but narrow because there are obstacles placed on either side of the gate. As we go through the gate of life these obstacles are there to remind us of the way we should go. Thank God for your obstacles; by them he puts you back on the right path.
· The word for "narrow" (translated "hard" in other versions) means "afflicted, or troubled." The Christian life is not the life of ease; it is a life of trouble. There is trouble because this world is not our home, we're just traveling through. There is triumph because at the end we receive our reward from our Savior.
Whenever I would tell my mother that "all my friends are doing it," she would reply, "If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?" She understood the narrow way and the hard road. If you are not bumping into obstacles; if you are not afflicted and troubled on the way, then ask yourself just how much traffic is going by. Perhaps you are on the wrong road.