Reflective Bible Study
Focus Passage: Matthew 7:7-20 (CEV)Part of me wonders about a concept Jesus shared near the end of His famous “Sermon on the Mount”. In this two-verse idea, we are able to see a contrast between two different ways of living, and two ultimate conclusions – but I wonder if part of this idea is lost in translation or has been left out, because it doesn’t seem to fit a number of other things that I see shared in the Bible and visible in the world. While sharing this famous sermon, Jesus tells the crowd, “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.” (v. 13-14) What makes me wonder about this statement and idea is what Jesus means when He talks about a gate to life vs. a gate to destruction. Are these gates figurative for eternal life and eternal death, or is this something else? If only a few people find and go through the gate to life and this gate refers to eternal life, then what of the billions of people who call themselves Christian, and the multitude that cannot be counted in the book of Revelation? Is eternal life the best way to understand this concept Jesus is sharing, or is Jesus trying to teach us something different here? Part of me wonders if Jesus is actually sharing a statement about those who are able to find the life that God has set out for them to live. There are plenty of people who simply live following the crowd, but not nearly as many people break apart from the crowd to live a life that is counter-culturally focused on obeying God’s will. I wonder if the life that God created us to live is one that leads us to an amazing life in this world that also leads into an incredible, eternal life in the next world. If this is the case, then most people, while they have placed their belief in Jesus, are living and walking down a road that leads to destruction. Their lives are like a walking time-bomb that could explode and harm them at any given moment. I wonder if this broad group includes those who are not living for Jesus, regardless of whether they have given their hearts to Him. But a case could be made against someone who says they are a Christian, but who has not truly given their heart to God. There may be millions of people like this, and this group of self-professed Christians actually cheapens what the Christian name is all about. A case could also be made against those who simply refer to themselves as “believers”. They have taken Christ out of their identity. If we look at the name “believer”, it could refer to any number of things. I can believe that if I water and fertilize the grass in my yard, it will grow. Believing that grass grows with proper care is a far stretch from believing in Jesus and identifying my life with His. I don’t know the way to the narrow gate, but I am intentionally looking for it. Jesus tells us that it is a gate that is hard to find and a gate that is counter-cultural, so these are the places I will start. It might not take me down a popular road, but living a life with God is the only life that brings true life, in both the present and the future. A life with God is the only path that leads to eternal life. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!