I remember taking a family vacation to visit Elephant Rocks State Park. As we made our way through the maze of huge rocks, we came to a very narrow passage; one had to turn sideways to squeeze through, and not everyone could get through this narrow passageway.
I thought about what Jesus said in Matthew's Gospel, "I am the way, the one and only way, that leads into God's kingdom. I am the narrow gate that is the entrance-way into heaven. No person enters into the presence of the most-holy God except through Me!"
Many ancient cities were surrounded by walls for protection. There were gates in the walls so that people could come and go in and out of those cities. These gates could be closed in times of danger. Jesus described two "ways" that run through life, one "way" is wide and easily traveled; the other "way" is very narrow, and few people choose to travel it. The "wide way" leads to eternal destruction and death; the "narrow way" leads to eternal life. And every person has to choose which "way" they will walk, which "gate" they will enter.
The Bible states, "The stone which God has placed as the foundation -- the stone of Life has been rejected by many and has become a stumbling block for millions." Why? Because: 1) since God created us just the way we are, God should accept us just as we are, sinful and rebellious, deniers and defiers of God. 2) Since God is supposed to love all people, regardless, He should include all of us in His kingdom. 3) God places too many restrictions on us, rules that are humanly impossible to follow. 4) I'm satisfied and happy with the "way" I'm living -- free, no restrictions, no one to tell me how to live my life. Jesus Christ is too narrow for me!
What is it that makes Jesus Christ "too narrow?" We are required to believe that, 1) God created all things; 2) God alone is the source of life; apart from God, there is no life; 3) God desires a love-relationship with all His people. If we truly love god, we will worship and serve Him only. We will reverence and respect his authority, and we will obey His rules. 4) The Creator-God became a human being, Jesus. 5) Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and performed many miracles. 6) Jesus was crucified on the cross to save us all from the power of sin and death. 7) Jesus rose from the grave, and was alive and well, witnessed by hundreds. 8) Jesus ascended into heaven, where He rules for all eternity. 9) Jesus Christ will come again, to judge every person according to His standards. 10) Christ Jesus is the one and only way -- the one and only gate into God's holy presence! That's why He is "too narrow" for millions of this world's people.
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 02/07/2019
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