"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." NIVThe Jewish canon describes the width of certain paths according to their purpose. "a private way was four cubits broad, a way from city to city eight cubits, a public way sixteen cubits, and the way to the cities of refuge thirty two cubits.'' (T. Bab.) A cubit was about 21.888 inches based on the length of a man's forearm. So as you see, the greater the population that would be using a road, the wider the road. The width increased according to the numbers passing through.
Jesus is saying here that the path to heaven is very narrow. Christ is the gate - or rather, the grace that Christ provides. The path is hedged in by many difficulties and obstacles. It can be a struggle to navigate and will usually leave bruises and pain. Most people will not choose this path; the consequences of walking it are too great. They want the wider path with its freedoms, comforts, space, and social familiarity. It's the path most known, comfortable, apparently safe.
But even though the journey may seem easier, the destination is the exact opposite - destruction. The privilege of walking with Christ brings a price. The grace is free; the journey is difficult. But the rewards are unmatchable and unimaginable. There will be joys along the way, but we are going to be scraped and bruise on this path; it's strict and tight. We will be mocked for taking this road and sometimes persecuted. Popularity does not follow our way. But if we keep ours eyes on the end, the reward, the goal, the Father...we can move forward -- step-by-step, day-by-day. Have courage and remain dedicated to being one of the few.
- How do we handle the trials we will face? Read James 2-8, 12; 1 Peter 1:3-9.
- Diligence is a major characteristic of the devout follower of Christ. What does the Scripture say about being diligent? Read 1 Timothy 4:7-16 and Hebrews 6:9-12.
- I've spoken often about taking up our cross daily to follow Him. Why is that important? What is the correlation between that and walking through the narrow gate?
- Have you allowed yourself to stray from the narrow path? Ask forgiveness and walk the narrow way again. His mercy is great, His grace is sure. He will strengthen you to endure.