“Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Jesus lays out a clear choice that each of us must make. There is a wide, easy road that leads to destruction. And there is a harder, narrower road of discipleship that leads to life.
It can be easy to assume that the broad road includes only people who do not believe in God, or maybe people of some other faith who do not know Jesus. So we might assume that Jesus is drawing a contrast between people in the church and those who are completely outside of it.
But in light of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, there’s another way to think about this passage. Jesus has been showing his listeners that they need to move from outward religion and ritual into a true relationship with God. We need to go beyond merely behaving ourselves to actually walking in union with the Father.
So as we read this passage, we need to realize that Jesus is describing not only a choice between faith or no faith. There’s also a choice between empty, surface-level religion and genuine discipleship.
The call of this passage is to move beyond rituals or cultural faith and to truly enter a full-life relationship with God, marked by dependence and submission to his will.
Father, help me to move beyond “religion” and to open myself to fully living with you. Lead me, guide me, and mold me in your image according to your good and perfect will. In Jesus, Amen.