Applying Matthew 7.13-14 today (the narrow and wide gate)

Question 205, from Mark, United Kingdom

In Matthew chapter 7, verses 13-14 Jesus said…
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
I’ve been thinking about these words quite a bit recently and just wondering if you have any thoughts about context and application for us today.

The idea that there are two ways to choose was common in Jewish thought and stems from Deuteronomy chapter 30, verse 15, where the Israelites are given a choice between “life and prosperity” and “death and destruction”. The words ascribed to Jesus in this passage in Matthew follow this pattern and are used to show how Jesus is fulfilling the Jewish Law by replicating its key teachings.

These verses then introduce the main concerns of this passage – that there are ‘false prophets’ who could lead the disciples astray (verse 15). The disciples are told to judge people ‘by their fruit’ (verse 16). There follows a warning of destruction for ‘trees’ that bear bad fruit and the statement that not everybody who calls Jesus ‘Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (more…)