These verses are often interpreted to infer that Jesus is speaking to his listeners about the narrow gate to heaven. And he could be saying that but I think that the context of his statements indicate that he is speaking more about finding the way to real, and eternal, life. Many often miss the fact that the eternal life that He speaks of begins on earth and many times it begins long before we die.
This passage tell us that the way to real life is narrow and hard. The context of it tells us why it is narrow and hard. The context informs us that the way is a way of:
- humility.. the beatitudes show us the narrow way of a humble person that makes peace, shows mercy and is sometimes persecuted;
- character.. Jesus tells us that the narrow way is all about having an internal life that is not murderous, envious or lustful;
- persistence.. asking, seeking and knocking reveal a type of prayer that keeps walking that narrow way when prayers are not answered and the going is rough;
- love.. caring about others and doing to them in ways that we want things done to us reveal the reality of the narrow way of love that Jesus walked to the cross.
These verses from the sermon on the mount speak to me about a transformed life. A life so transformed that it persistently walks in prayer, humility and love even when the way is hard. They paint a picture of a transformed life that reflects the character of God himself.
Lord, please transform those parts of me that are not humble and loving.