Two roads (Matthew 7:13-14)

The key to this illustration is the gate into each road. It looks as if Jesus is using a crossroads to illustrate his point. The gate to the broad road is wide, the road itself is downhill (is that what he means by easy?), and its terminus is destruction. There is a signpost indicating where the road will take those who travel on it. The gate is so wide you can take everything with you as you journey along. Because it is downhill, the journey is not hard, even for those who have problems.

In contrast, the gate to the other path is narrow. We are familiar with stiles, and it is very hard to go through them with a lot of baggage. Moreover, the choice to enter through this gate is unpopular, with not many going through it. Also the road is at times difficult to find, maybe because of overgrowth, but for those who travel all the way it leads to life.

Why is the narrow gate unpopular? Various answers can be given to this question. First, since it is narrow, it is not easily seen. And we know how difficult today it can be for the gospel to have a space in the lives of people. Second, others when they see it, don’t like what they see because in their eyes it looks very unattractive because of its seeming limitations as a road to anywhere meaningful.

It looks to me that Jesus is saying that what is needed are two things. First, at the entrance to the narrow way, one must get rid of baggage, which is a reference to our sins, which requires repentance. Second, when one is on the narrow way, one needs information about how to deal with issues that come along. This information comes from the teaching of Jesus, which is also a reminder that he is present to help on the narrow way.

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