Jesus closes out His Sermon on the Mount by using a metaphor to describe life. These two verses are at the center of the reality of life itself. Despite all of the miniscule decisions and daily components of life, this metaphor illustrates perfectly what choice and decision is most important in life. Jesus does this by using a gate and a path as well as including that there are two possible destinations for each path and gate. First, let’s take a look at what Jesus describes as the “path” or “way” as some translations use. The Greek word used here in verses 13 and 14 is “hodos” which means “a road or path.” Most versions of the Bible will translate “hodos” to “way.” This, more effectively than “path,” describes Jesus’ metaphorical use of the word “hodos.” When Jesus used the word “way” in these verses, He is stating His underlying point that the “way” is the focus of the course one takes in life. Our “way” is how we choose to live our life. Now, let’s take a look at the word “gate” in these verses. The Greek word “pule” is used here to mean “gate” or “door” typically used to mean “the gate of a city, temple, or prison.” So Jesus is describing a means by which one is to enter into a certain place by using the word “pule” to describe the gate. Now that we have a good understanding of the origin of the word usage in this metaphor, we can tackle the metaphor itself and see its implications in our lives.
Now, we are going to take a look at the comparison of each way, gate, and destination as described by Jesus. He first says in verse 13 that “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction.” After we studied the word origins more closely it becomes obvious that Jesus is saying that if the course we choose to take in life is easy and comfortable, we will be going down a path that ends in destruction. Jesus also states that we would have a lot of company. The gate is wide for those who choose this easy road or path. A road that is wider is much easier to travel on. Therefore, if the way we choose to live our life is easy and full of self-pleasure, it will end in destruction. Many people will choose this path according to Jesus. Since it is a wide path, the gate by which this path leads is wide as well allowing many to enter into it. It is much easier for us to live an easy life doing whatever we want to please ourselves. However, the end to this path leads to a destructive hell that forever separates us from our God. Thankfully, Jesus describes another way, the only way to life. The only way to life is through the narrow gate by the narrow way. Jesus says that “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few.” The word “narrow” here is used elsewhere in the New Testament to mean “distress,” “affliction,” and “to press upon.” From this we can infer that the way that leads to the narrow gate is full of affliction, distress, and will be hard. The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an easy life because of what He requires of us. We can choose easy and destruction or hard and life. There is no easy way which leads to life. There is only the hard way which leads to life. Jesus said only a few ever find it. Be careful that you are not of the many who choose the easy way that leads to destruction. Jesus is the gate (John 10:7) and those who enter into life can only enter through Him as we can clearly see elsewhere in Scripture (John 14:6). You can choose the worldy life which is easy and be on your way to destruction through the wide gate, or you can choose to live a Christ-like life which is hard and be on your way to life through the narrow gate.
After presenting the true way to enter into the Kingdom Jesus was establishing, He begins to warn about false prophets and those who seem spiritual yet are far from the Father. Jesus is saying in this set of Scripture that those who are actually leading us down the path to the wide gate which leads to destruction are hard to recognize as they will “come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). They may seem religious and even do good things, but there message is not that of the truth of the gospel and they will very easily and slyly lure you away from the narrow way that leads to life. You will however be able to recognize them by their fruits. For just as a healthy tree bears good fruit, so will a true disciple of Christ display good fruit through his or her word and action. We should be aware of these false teachers even in our worlds today, secular and church. Demonstrate the traits or fruits of a disciple of Christ so that you will be able to more clearly distinguish between true and false teachers. This is also important as Jesus discusses eternal implications of being a true follower. For those who do not truly follow the narrow way that leads to life by means of Jesus Christ, they will stand before God thinking they are made right because of their good deeds. They will be shockingly turned away as the Father will turn to them and say “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). Just because someone acts religious, even saying some true things and practicing good deeds, that does not mean they will enter the kingdom of heaven. Develop a true and deep relationship with Jesus Christ demonstrating the fruits of a disciple and following Him by the narrow way so that He will know you in order for you to enter the kingdom of heaven. Obedience to the Father puts these fruits on display.
Jesus said that “everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24). The key here is what makes the man wise. The man is wise because he builds on a strong foundation, in this case, a house. In the case of life and living as a follower of Christ, nothing we do in life matters if we don’t listen to and obey the words of Jesus. This is our foundation as Christians and if we are to build on our Christian maturity, we must lay as our foundation the words of Jesus.
The rain, flood, and wind that Jesus describes as a storm, indirectly applies to the hardships and trials that we go through in life. However, those who have built a strong foundation on the words of Jesus are not shaken by the storm. They do not fall or return to their sin because they are so rooted in the powerful words of Christ. When the storm passes, those who are saturated in the words of Christ and His teachings are left standing. The key to living a life that can surpass the storm is not merely rooted in hearing the words of Christ but also putting them into practice. This is evident as Jesus describes the person who builds his house on sand. He says that even though they may hear His words, they do not put them into practice or “do them.” Jesus describes this person as being foolish. Therefore, in verse 27, the one who ignores the words of Christ by not putting them into practice, cannot withstand the storms of life. It is clear to see from this passage that in order for a follower of Christ to be able to withstand all of life’s heartaches, trials, and hardships, one must build the foundation of their life on the words of Christ by hearing them and putting them into practice which in turn also demonstrates evidence of the fruit that will accompany a true disciple of Christ (Matt. 7:18-19). If Christ’s followers build a strong relationship with God by living obediently to His Word, then the struggles and trials in life will reveal that foundation. People with Christian character know they can trust God, even through the pain. Christians can actually grow in faith in the midst of their challenges and struggles.
Written by: Mathew Gilbert
Referenced: Life Bible Study – Radical the Bible Study