Narrow Gate – Wide Gate

While we were in Israel recently we were able to see the narrow gate that is mentioned in Matthew chapter 7 verse 14. It is indeed very small and not only narrow, but low. It was a small opening in a big gate, which was only opened to let one person through at a time to save opening the main gate. Much like in many big garages and workshops today, where there is a small gate for people and a larger one for the trucks or machinery to come through.
Although the story of the narrow gate and the wide gate was familiar to me, I did not realize just how small these gates were. You could not have entered that gate with a cumbersome load. It would have been impossible to get in to the city without unloading your burden. Because of how narrow it is as well as not tall, even luggage carried by your side would not have made it through. This was a good example for Jesus to use as the people of the day would have been very familiar with the difficulties associated with entering into the small gate, as well as with the ease of going in through the wide open main gate, if and when it was open.
By using this illustration for those who are ready to accept a walk with Christ and a journey to Heaven with Him, Jesus was talking of the burdens we have to lay down before we can embark on this journey. He gave many examples in the Bible of people who wanted to come to Him but were prevented by the baggage they carried. The rich young ruler in Matthew chapter 19 had too many possessions which he did not want to part with. At that time he thought he could not live without them. It may not be possessions which keep you from trusting Him, but it could be priorities – wanting your agenda before His, passions ‚Äì your desires and dreams need to be fulfilled, or pride ‚Äì egotism and ambition. Some believe they have a privileged position having been brought up in the church just like the Jews who thought they had priority in God”s eyes no matter what they did. Others carry wounds of the past and are not willing to hand these over. There were some tall people in our group and some more muscular built. It made no difference. Some had to bend lower to get through while others had to stand sideways. Doesn”t matter how heavy your load, it had to be put down. There are no special ways to get through the gate, all go the one way and every burden needs to be unloaded to step in through the narrow gate. I know, I physically went through the gate a few weeks ago and that was interesting, but I have never regretted having gone through it spiritually over 40 years ago.
God offers only two ways, the way of blessing or the way of the curse: the way of life or the way of death. You can”t climb over it, or go around it. You can wait till the large gate has to be opened for deliveries to get in but much time could elapse and we are only promised the time we have now on this earth and waiting may be too late. When we are willing to humble ourselves, drop the burden and walk through the gate, He will give us the power to pick up the burden again on the other side and carry it in a whole new way. More importantly, He gives us His presence.
Some of the baggage, He carries for us while we walk along, and others He helps us carry. The burden of sin doesn”t ever have to be lifted again, He has dealt with it, it will never be remembered anymore, so need not be carried. What a promise! He gives us the joy, power and strength to carry the problems He knows we together can cope with. He paid the price, He made the way and in the really tough times, He will carry us!!!
When we take the step, we won”t ever want to be on the other side of the gate again, even though the narrow road is not easy to walk and the broad road is much easier, when we have the peace that passes all understanding, the power of the Holy spirit and the Fellowship of the Lord Jesus, we can continue along the path till we reach the wide open heavenly gate.
I was glad to see the actual illustration from the Bible before me, helping me understand what the people Jesus was talking to were seeing. It gets exciting to realise how Jesus used illustrations of everyday things to talk to everyday people, and we who are believers can use our everyday lives to reach out to the many, who have not yet taken the way through the narrow gate to eternal life.

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