The Wide and Narrow Gates

Matthew 7:13-14 introduces a series of contrasts: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Those words of Jesus contain four pairs:

  1. Narrow Gate or Wide Gate
  2. Hard Way or Easy Way
  3. Life or Destruction
  4. Few or Many

The thesis is in the opening words: “Enter by the narrow gate.” The rest of 7:13-14 gives two reasons why.

  1. Enter by the narrow gate, because the wide gate, though associated with an easy path, leads to destruction.
  2. Enter by the narrow gate, because the narrow gate, though associated with a hard path, leads to life.

As Eugene Peterson once titled a book, the Christian life is “a long obedience in the same direction,” along a hard path that ends in life.

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Filed under Discipleship, Matthew, Sermon on the Mount

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