Read: Matt 7:1-29
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. Matt 7:13-14
OK – let’s be honest. If Chris were to give a sermon like Jesus did in the Sermon on the Mount, we would all be shaking our heads on our way out the door and wondering who hired him. I mean really, what happened to the 3 point sermon! The Sermon on the Mount has to have at least 68 points and not less than 14 suggestions. That’s a lot to keep track of.
In todays passage, we start out with a warning to judge not, lest we be judged. From there we move into an encouragement for our prayers – ask, seek, knock. We’re given a picture of what the road ahead looks like for those who choose to follow Jesus – narrow with few travelers. We’re warned about false prophets and false disciples and finally we end with the admonition to build our lives on the solid foundation of Christ. And in the middle of it all we have the Golden Rule. How does it all fit together?
I think it all comes down to verses 24 – 25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
I think Jesus told the people all these seemingly unconnected things during this sermon because . . . He loves us. All the statements He made are little bits of wisdom that either tell us how we relate to God and He to us, or they tell us how we should relate to each other. They’re all things that make us/our lives/the world better.
It reminds me of when I’m dropping my kids off somewhere and as they’re about to get out of the car I’m hurriedly giving them last minute instructions. Why? Because I love them and I want things to go well for them. And just like for my kids, it’s the same for us “kids”. When we’re obedient to the instructions of our Father, when we hear His words and put them into practice – things tend to go well for us. The rain still comes, storms may beat against the house, but we are not moved because our house is built on the rock.
But clearly, Jesus knew we would have trouble living this sermon out. Hearing the words is one thing – putting them into practice is a whole nother. (I know – that’s not even a word – work with me :)). Hence the whole, “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.” (vs 13-14). He loves us and wants the best for us. Obedience is a long, hard road but it’s the road I want to travel and praise God – I don’t travel it alone!
Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching us how to live. And thank you that when we stumble and fall, you pick us up, and get us back on the right road again. Help us to not only hear your words, but to put them into practice, that the world might know the same love that saved us. In Jesus’ name, amen.