The Narrow and the Wide Gate – from Matthew 7:13-14

Beginning in Matthew 7:13 and 14 we come to the application of Jesus’ Sermon. The main part of the sermon ends at verse twelve, and here in verse thirteen Jesus begins to point to the application—how we are to apply it.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

So Jesus tells us that there are two different applications, or ways we can proceed: through the narrow gate or through the wide gate.

Well, Jesus beckons us to go through the narrow gate, because, He says the wide gate leads to destruction, the way most people are going. But the narrow gate, though it is difficult, leads to life.

Now why do you suppose the way of life is narrow? And why is the way of destruction wide?

Well, what is most obvious to me is that the size of the gate (and the way) has to do with the amount of people who will enter there. I think the narrow gate, the way of the true Christian, is narrow mainly because God knows that not too many will be coming through it. And the wide gate is wide because God knows that many will be coming thought it.

But there are a few other reasons for the size of the gates (and for the size of the path). For the Christian, he does not require a wide gate because he is called to a life of holiness and suffering and difficulty just like Jesus was. He does not have many possessions—Jesus had no where to lay His head. Yes, the Christian is called to leave the world behind. But the non-Christian carries many worldly goods with him. He is full of love for self and all his possessions, and so he needs a wide gate and a wide path to make it through.

Another way to look at is to see the gate as the kind of people we are, or that we are to be. A Christian is called to narrowness, which suggests someone who is different, peculiar, or exceptional—just as Jesus was. But the non-Christian is drawn to the broad way because he would rather be more acceptable to all and popular and comfortable and as normal as can be.

Narrowness here may also point to the fact that the teachings of Jesus are narrow, or, as some would say narrow-minded. They don’t allow for any other view. After all, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14:6). And the wide way may indicate the way of those who are less narrow-minded, and more tolerant of many other views, even other religions.

Which gate do you prefer?

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