“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt 7:13-14)
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mt 22:14)
. . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Act 14:22)
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (Joh 15:18-20)
The term “narrow gate” conveys its meaning rather well. A narrow gate allows the entry of fewer people at one time, than does a wide gate. A narrow gate doesn’t allow a person who is heavily burdened with packages to get through very easily.
When Jesus said, “Narrow is the way which leads to life . . . “ He was pointing out that the Christian walk is not as easy as it may seem. Jesus was warning people that following Him would lead to grief and to serious challenges of life.
“Difficult” is from the Greek word thlibo, which means: “To press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted” way (New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.biblestudytools.com).
As Christians, we must continuously keep our eyes on the goal of spending eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ. In John 15:18-20, Jesus tells His followers that the world will hate them even as it hated Him. And since Jesus was persecuted, we should expect the same treatment.
These are tough realities and truths that Jesus was setting before everyone who chooses to follow Him. However, no one will be able to say that they haven’t been told the entire truth about following Jesus.
Jesus loves us and wants us to follow Him; and He pours out His love, mercy, and grace upon us to empower us to do just that. We must remember to add our own willpower and determination to this endeavor by choosing continuously to persist in following Jesus Christ. Let’s glorify the Lord throughout our lives.