April 10, 2013 by Chris French
I know it’s been a while since the last post. The sound you hear in the background is my head hanging in shame. I’ve been thinking about some new articles to dive into though and this one has come up a couple of times so I thought I’d go ahead and deal with it now. This new series I’ve been kicking around focuses on the original word and the picture that word should paint in our minds. I’m not a Greek (and certainly not a Hebrew) scholar, but I do love finding these words and trying to understand what they mean. This series then will preview a word and attempt to paint the picture the word conveys. One word has come across my desk multiple times in the last six months: “narrow”.
As in, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
When you look “narrow” up in Strong’s or on your handy dandy E-sword app you bought for like $4.99 you’ll find that it conveys the picture of an obstacle course. There are so many things trying to trip you up that it’s tough to get thru it. I’m picturing American Gladiators from back in the day. Yeah, my opinion of me just went down too. The basic idea was that the contestant had to get from point A to point B. Sounds easy, right? The problem is that at least one steroid induced gym addict is standing in the way usually hoisting some sort of foam medieval weapon that they intend to put through your face. Jesus says that if we’re His disciple Satan is going to throw all kinds of obstacles in our way in an effort to knock us off track. You’re going to have to work on your endurance, patience and faith to get thru this obstacle course. Friends will leave and betray you, you will be ridiculed, bad things will happen to you, sacrifice will become a daily ritual the moment you take this narrow path. The path that leads to Hell is well paved, no potholes and no obstacles and there’s going to be a lot of people on it, but this narrow path is going to be tough.
Jesus uses another interesting word in this same passage. In verse 14 He says the narrow path is “hard”. Implicit in this word is struggle, pain and trouble. If you’re walking down this narrow obstacle course you had better expect it to be hard. That’s why Jesus reminds His would be followers to count the cost. They needed to know the pain inherent in following Him before they ever started.