“The Narrow Gate” ( Matthew 8: 12 ) by Carley Evans


Jesus is impressed with a centurion who understands authority. The centurion asks Jesus to heal one of his servants who is paralyzed at home. When Jesus says, “‘I will come and heal him'” (Matthew 8:7) the centurion recognizes that it is enough for Jesus to speak healing words; He does not need to come to the house. Jesus marvels, and “says to those who follow Him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.'” (Matthew 8:10)

In the next moment, Jesus says that while many who are not of Israel will “recline at the table in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 8:11) “the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In a single statement, Jesus tells us of the existence of heaven and of hell. In heaven is joy and restoration; in hell is sorrow and destruction. In heaven is the presence of God; in hell is the final separation from God in a place of “outer darkness.” Both states of existence are eternal. Heaven is for the wise; hell is for the foolish.

Jesus warns that the road to destruction is wide, and many find it. After all, we are born on the road to destruction and so follow it naturally. But, the road to God is narrow and difficult to locate much less follow; and few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate.” (Matthew 7:13)

“And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who build his house on the Rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the Rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

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“Sheep And The Two Gates” (Matthew 7: 13 – 14, ESV) by Carley Evans


Maybe sheep are like lemmings — all going the same way, following along in a daze, unaware of dangers around them, oblivious to the paths they might take. Lemmings tend to move forward in a crowd, even to the point of tumbling over cliffs to their deaths.

For sheep, it is natural to follow a leader, yet they also tend to keep together. Sheep usually flee when threatened and only stand their ground when their egress is cut off.

A narrow gate is one which is obvious, but difficult to pass through especially if sheep are in a large mob — herd or flock. Many may not pass through; rather each sheep must find its own way through that narrow gate. Most sheep remain with the herd, meandering through the wide gate which is easy to pass through and appears safer, since the sheep remains in the mob.

But that wide gate — which is so easy to pass through — leads to destruction.

And the narrow gate — which is so lonely sometimes and so hard to find and so difficult to pass through — “leads to life and those who find it are few.”

“Pride Fails” (Ezekiel 28: 2, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god–“

 

James warns us, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?…Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us?’ But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4: 4, 5, 6, 10)

Solomon warns, “The Lord tears down the house of the proud;” (Proverbs 15: 25) and tells us that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16: 18)

Jesus preaches, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5: 5) “I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5: 39 – 44)

Humble yourselves; and God will exalt you.