“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The narrow gate passage was an often quoted memory verse in my growing up years. It wasn’t on the same level as John 3:16. Not even close. You cannot top that one, the Gospel according to Jesus. But I heard the narrow gate account enough times to form images in my mind of mass mobs of people bottle-necking their way through the wide gate while the narrow gate remained all alone and clear for the running.
It’s kinda like picturing the checkout aisles at Wal-Mart. Two checkouts are available. One is wide open, with no one there but the lonely cashier, and the other has formed a busy line that snakes all the way past the toys and electronics and into the baby section. For whatever reason, people keep lining up there. Nobody wants the open checkout lane. Everyone is perfectly content to stand in line and wait with the snake.
The words of Jesus strike a minor chord of terror, but the way of fear is not of God. Jesus never meant to frighten anybody. He said Himself, He has not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. Jesus is offering another way–freedom from the busy line. Jesus is saying “Come to me, away from there, away from the craziness of the world, and find rest for your souls. And by all means, bring a friend.”