Two Roads (Matthew 7:13, 14)

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2007-12-24 12:41.

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One would readily see a spacious road where many are walking and not even notice a small gate leading to a cramped, difficult path. Even in case some individuals spotted the small gate, they would generally choose the easier and well-traveled road. People tend to feel more secure when they observe many on the same course. It gives them confidence that the road is the right one to take, eliminating the need for personal evaluation. When it comes to matters of life, they find it comfortable to be in step with the majority and not to be looked upon disdainfully for being outsiders.

Jesus, however, taught that, when it comes to one’s course in life, the broad road should not be the option of choice. “Enter through the narrow gate,” he said, “because wide [is] the gate [like the main gate leading into a city] and broad [is] the road leading to destruction, and many are those who enter through it.” Emphasizing the right choice, Jesus continued, “Narrow [is] the gate and arduous [is] the road leading to life, and few are the ones who find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14) Although appearing to be right, the broad road leads to loss and ruin. By contrast, the difficult path, requiring one to break away from the crowd, is the way that leads to life.

For those who heard and saw Jesus, the decision to accept him as the promised Messiah and the Son of God and then to follow his example and teaching proved to be the difficult path, the one leading to life. A person’s starting and continuing to walk on this arduous path resulted in disapproval, reproach, and even the possibility of violent treatment. The attitude of the most influential members of the Jewish nation is reflected in the words later spoken to officers sent to arrest Jesus but who had failed to do so, “Have you also been deceived? Has anyone of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law—damned they are.” (John 7:47, 48)


The word translated “arduous” is a form of the Greek word thlíbo, which can mean to “press upon” or “crowd,” “constrict,” “afflict,” or “oppress.” These meanings suggest a hard or difficult path.

Jesus’ words reveal that security is not to be found with the crowd. Often, when individuals become disillusioned by a religious movement, a denomination, or a nondenominational body, they cast about for another group, seeking a more comfortable environment and social framework. They never seem to come to recognize that being a disciple of God’s Son means being attached to him, and that the family of God’s children includes all who love the Father and his Son as reflected in upright conduct and compassionate and loving concern for fellow humans.

Traveling on the difficult path is not a group endeavor. It is not a matter of subscribing to a specific “statement of faith,” nor does it mean following the routine a particular religious movement may advocate. Rather, it is a daily walk with God and Christ, with the full awareness of personal accountability.

Other individuals, upon discovering that the movement with which they may long have been associated is not what it claims to be, jettison whatever belief in God and Christ they may have had. They may then seek out others with the same experience and form a loose network of malcontents, venting their anger against a system they have come to view as deceptive and as having robbed them of opportunities that could have meant a better life for them. Although free of the movement, they still feel the weight of its chains and struggle hard against it. Sadly, they choose not to enter through the narrow gate and follow the difficult path leading to life.