Jesus’ hearers would have been familiar with the image of “two ways” – one leading to life and the other to death.
Like many today, most believe that the vast majority are going to heaven while only a few are on the way to hell. However, Jesus shatters this popular view with the reality that many are on the way to hell while only a few are on the way heaven.
Jesus’ teaching also reveals that there is no “middle ground.” Everyone is either on the broad way that leads to destruction or on the narrow way that leads to life. Both roads are moving in the opposite direction. Thus, Jesus’ command is “Enter through the narrow gate.”
The “narrow gate” may be compared to our modern-day “turnstile.” A turnstile is a mechanical gate with revolving horizontal arms that allow only one person at a time to pass through. You’ve seen these at the zoo, movie theatres, airports, etc. Why do they have them? To ensure that each individual person who seeks entrance has a ticket!
The same is true when it comes to heaven. Only one person at a time enters the kingdom. No one comes to heaven as part of a group. The only “ticket” into heaven is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. There is no other way to heaven but through Christ.
Jesus Himself says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Notice, Jesus does not say, “I am a way, a truth or a life,” as though He is simply one option among many. Rather, He states exclusively that He is “THE way, THE truth, and THE life.” Apart from Christ, there is no salvation.
“And there is salvation in no one else,” declared Peter, “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). And of course, that name is “Jesus.”
Paul writers, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. ... for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9-10, 13).
The name of the Lord is “Jesus.” He is the “ticket” into the kingdom of heaven. The gate leading to eternal life is narrow, about as narrow as the cross of Christ. Have you found Him?
(Jessie J. Charpentier Sr. is pastor of Jenkins Memorial Baptist Church in St. Martinville.)