The Wide and Narrow Gate
Matthew 7:13–14 (NIV)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
The narrow gate Jesus speaks of in Matthew 7:13-14 is not just referring to the person who does unto others as they would have them do unto them (Golden Rule, Matt. 7:12), or who does the Fathers will (Matt. 7:21), and bears good fruit (Matt. 7:17), because these are a result of knowing Jesus, being in a personal relationship with him (Matt. 7:23) . The narrow gate is believing in and following our Good Shepherd Jesus. Only those who enter (or exit) through him will find life.
In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” And in John 10:7-10, Jesus said he is the gate through which the sheep exit the sheep pen to find green pasture (representing abundant life and eternal life). Shepherds in Jesus’ day used a round sheep pen, made of stone or other materials to keep the sheep safe especially during the night. There was only one entrance in and out, and the shepherd would lay across the entrance to keep the sheep safe. In the morning the sheep would go out through the gate where the shepherd was calling to his sheep.
People can mistakenly read this passage and think that if I am a “good person” and try to do the “right thing” I will be on the narrow path to life, but there is a reason it is narrow and few enter it, because the gate is Jesus himself. How will our righteousness surpass the Pharisees, who spent their whole life trying to follow God’s Law to the “T”? It isn’t by trying harder, it is through knowing and following the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who guides us to the right path, and gives us what we need to follow him.
Unfortunately, there are many lost sheep currently on the road to destruction, some not even realizing they are lost, and will not experience God’s abundant and eternal life. Jesus is pursuing each of them, seeking after them until they are found (Luke 15:1-7). But what about us? Are we following Jesus, who is following after them? Are we pursuing lost sheep with the same reckless abandonment as Jesus? How are we sharing the Good Shepherd with them?