Conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount; preaching and miracles; call of Matthew.
The Jews presumed that they were all the chosen ones of the Messiah and would inherit His kingdom simply because they were descendants of Abraham and were identified with His covenant through circumcision.
It was a disturbing shock for them to hear the Lord say: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in . . . and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (7:13-14). The Lord made it clear that the majority of the religious people of His day were on the broad . . . way, that leadeth to destruction. Sadly, the same can be said today about many who consider they are part of the Christian world.
Many of the “religious” people today believe that Heaven can be obtained on much easier terms than those described in this Sermon on the Mount. But it is Christ who said if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out . . . and if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off (5:29-30). The Word is clear: If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom. 8:13).
Entering into this “narrow gate” is the sincere desire to change masters; to now serve the Savior and not the lusts of the flesh (I John 2:15-17). Our minds, our affections, our wills, our conversation, and our conduct must all be brought into harmony with God's Holy Word.
The broad way is much more popular (Matt. 7:13). It is wide and full of self-will and self-gratification with no restrictions. It is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12). The popular false prophets of today pride themselves on their broad-mindedness and liberality, while avoiding anything which suggests surrender, repentance, or obedience.
The true follower of Christ looks not to his own way but seeks his direction from the Holy Spirit. He chooses to serve God rather than the flesh. Even though he may have to endure trials at times he knows that he has the ultimate victory in life. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life (John 5:24).
Thought for Today:
God will never put stones in the bread He gives.
For Matt. 7:23: See Ps. 6:8. Matt. 8:4: See Lev. 14:1-32. Matt. 8:17: See Is. 53:4. Matt. 9:13: See Hos. 6:6.
7:2 ye mete, you measure out, give; 7:3 mote, tiny, insignificant speck; beam, such as judgmental unloving self-righteousness, pretending to have a character one does not possess; 7:6 rend, to tear apart; 8:31 suffer, permit; 9:9 receipt of custom, tax collector's office; 9:10 sat at meat, sat down to a meal; 9:36 fainted, were distressed by the burden of the rituals and rules of the scribes and Pharisees; scattered abroad, thrown down, confused, deceived, neglected by the self-righteous leaders who were more concerned about keeping their own position than helping others.
Prayer Suggestion: Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving (Ps. 147:7).
Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:17