The Great Gate

Gate (Dictionary): An opening in a wall or fence; a city or castle entrance often with defensive structures (as towers); the frame or door that closes a gate; a movable barrier (as at a grade crossing)
Gate (Bible): Narrow; strait; a large gate; a gateway, porch, vestibule; door.

In ancient Jerusalem there were10 gates for entry to the city and each gate had a spiritual significance City gates were covered with metal and heavy. Gates were also used to gain access to pastures. Pasture gates were constructed of stones or wood…The shepherds would sleep at the gate for protection of the flocks and so they could count the sheep. Anything that might attack the sheep had to get by the shepherd first. Jesus taught about gates using parables because the people used gates.

Matthew 7:13-14:  13 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.14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (NLT) 

This is a very sobering Scripture. Jesus wanted people to understand that rejection of the gospel had terrible consequences now and into eternity!

Jesus explained that the “narrow” way is difficult to traverse and in fact, few ever find it! On the other hand the path to destruction and hell is easy to find. There is a contrast of the many and the few-the saved and the lost, light and darkness.

The word for “narrow” is “stenōs” which means narrow; (figuratively) the closely-defined path God ordains to travel on to gain His approval (only used three times in the NT). The word meaning “wide” is “plantie”. This means broad, or spacious, like a broad highway. This wide road is easy to find and may look good but is a road of destruction and great loss.

In John 10, Jesus speaks another parable tied to a gate (door): 

John 10:6-10: 6This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB)

It is interesting that the word used for “gate or door” is “thura” which also means “an opportunity.” When Jesus spoke this parable, there were those who could not understand its application to their lives. They just could not grasp the opportunity of salvation Jesus was offering! The same is true today. Jesus has clearly told the world that He is the gate-and the only gate into salvation. He is the narrow and only way. Years ago I read a tract called “the cry of the blood” and I still recall how it deeply touched me as a young man. It went like this:

“I had a dream and in the dream I saw a group of Christians-old and young. They were sitting beneath some shade trees and were busy making daisy chains. I joined them for a while but kept hearing sounds in the distance. Several times, I wanted to go and see what was making the sound. However, the daisy chain people kept calling me back. Finally, I was determined and walked towards the sound. I walked through a mist and I found a cliff with wide paths leading to the cliff edge. There were lines of people walking in single file to the cliff and falling headfirst into an abyss. I could see their faces as they fell. Some showed surprise, some screamed and some showed fear. There was a great feeling of lostness as I watched the lines of people. There were other people at the cliff edge and they were turning back people away from the cliff and into the light of the gospel truth. But there were not enough people and the lines kept coming. In the distance, I could hear the daisy chain makers calling me back. But the cries at the cliff had a stronger voice and with a renewed heart I joined the Lords workers in turning some back away from the abyss.” 

I was deeply touched by the message of the tract. It certainly reminded me there are many, many people on the wide road and Jesus died for all of them.

Luke 10:1-3: The Lord now chose seventy other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit later.These were his instructions to them: “Plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers to help you, for the harvest is so plentiful and the workers so few.Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.” (TLB)

Let us become strong workers and ask Father God to send people to us so we can tell them of the narrow Gate and the narrow way!


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