Jesus says that few find the narrow gate.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”
Jesus says the road to destruction is essentially an easy one in comparison to “the road that leads to life.” The road to life is “difficult” not only to find but to travel. Yet, Jesus also says that He is the way, the truth, and the life. He says His yoke is easy; His burden is light. Jesus makes eternal life sounds easy, not difficult. Jesus says to take up your cross daily; He says to leave everything to follow Him.
Perhaps this is the narrow gate He speaks of — this leaving behind everything to walk after Him. That road is hard; that gate is narrow and tricky to navigate; less attractive to the natural man. The natural man wants his own way — the way to destruction that is broad with the gate that is wide. Many do indeed find this way, walking right by the narrow gate and the hard road to life.
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)
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.”