All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:27-28
As I again ponder this passage I am struck by the stark contrast in these two back to back verses.
Jesus, states in one breath that NO ONE can know the Father except through the Son. Then He takes a deep breath, spreads His arms and welcomes all comers with the oft quoted “Come to Me, ALL who are weary …
I am so glad, that though the way is narrow, the path straight, and access limited to those who come by that single point of entry, still it is open to ALL.
There are a couple requirements for entry into the kingdom, into the way that leads to life.
First you must be weary.
Are you tired of trying you best to “be good” and just blowing it over and over?
You are qualified.
Next you must be heavy laden.
Has religion piled high upon your shoulders a load of “ought to”s that you can’t bear?
Or perhaps you have never been religious, instead you have tried by your own wits and efforts to be a good member of society, and find yourself repeatedly tripped up by greed, or indifference, or shocked by your own intolerance.
You are qualified too.
You who are weary and heavy laden, today is your day. Today is your day to come.
I don’t care if you have been a Christian for 100 years, if you are weary or heavy laden, today is a good day to come to Jesus.
In my last message I talked about the fact that this narrow way to life was, in context, doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Today I want to talk to you about this narrow gate. Exactly how narrow is this gate?
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. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. ~ Matthew 7:12-14
Have you ever been on a hike and come to a passage between 2 rocks so narrow you could not proceed unless you were tiny. I have had this experience. I was on a hike with some boys, and came to a place in the trail where the path went through a crevice so small I had to expel all my breath and suck in my formidable figure and literally squeeze though or my charges would be, well, charging on without me.
Is that what it is like to get into the kingdom of heaven?
Or is the gate smaller still? Does it shrink based on your financial status?
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. ~ Matthew 19:24
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. ~ John 14:6
And He said:
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. ~ John 10:9
The gate is precisely as narrow as the cross, because the only way to enter this gate is to die.
You enter this gate on your own – you can’t go through holding hands with your mom or dad, your husband or wife or best friend. Only Jesus will fit through this gate with you.
There is no other way. As we will see in the next couple weeks as we finish up this wonderful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is exclusive. He is the ONLY WAY and the ONLY GATE that leads to life. Pretty Narrow eh?
I am again surprised by context. If there is a verse in the Bible that can stand on its own, it is the ‘Golden Rule,’ Matthew 7:12. Nevertheless, it does not stand alone. Though it has been a sound bite millions of times over, when Jesus shared this great divine relational wisdom, it was in the context of the gate.
I want to ponder this gate a bit, but first let’s hear what Jesus said:
Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 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. For the gate is small (strait KJV), and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. ~ Matthew 7:12-14
Here we have two paths leading to two gates. These two gates in turn grant access to two results. The broad way and wide gate grant you access to destruction. The narrow way and the small gate lead to life.
Today I want to makes one fairly simple point.
How much of religion, even Christianity is based on the keeping of rules (Golden or otherwise.) I have a friend who is an orthodox Jew, and we have over the years talked a lot about life as an orthodox Jew. What it’s like, once a year, to clean your house, clean your car, wash every surface, just to ensure that there is not even a crumb of leavened bread anywhere to be found. Imagine the challenge when you have little ones who sit in their car seat on a long trip eating from a cup of Cheerios.
Different pots and pans, plates and bowls to be used only one week out of the year.
There are restrictions on where they can buy a house because it had to be within a Sabbath day’s walk from a synagogue.
You get the point.
As a young Christian girl, my mom was never allowed to go the movies. It was not until well into her marriage, when her husband pointed out that they were watching movies on the TV in their home, that she finally relented.
She grew up in a day when Christians ‘didn't smoke and didn't chew and didn't go with girls that do.’
In my wife’s house growing up they had stacks of my father-in-law’s old business cards with symbols and numbers drawn on them, so they could play games that required a deck of cards with out using those worldly ones that had images on them.
I had friends who were not allowed to go out and play, or even change out of their 'Church clothes' on Sunday afternoon, because it was a day of rest, and playing was clearly not rest.
I really do get where these rules come from, and I don’t want to dishonor those who keep them.
What I want to point out today is that this narrow way and strait gate, in context, is 100% relational. [Tweet This]
Staying on the 'straight and narrow' is about how you treat other people, not about how you follow rules.
Are you planning a trip to LIFE? Is your intended destination LIFE? Is that where you want to end up?
Then treat everyone you run into with the same kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, mercy, grace, trust, honor, respect, honesty, generosity, forthrightness, purity… with which you wish to be treated.
This is the road to life. It’s narrow and straight. All other roads lead to destruction.