Friday, September 6th, 2013
Sermon On The Mount (Part 28)
Narrow And Difficult
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
When did 'Christians' move to easy street? When did we start sailing in luxury liners with the rest of the world? When did the things we display become positions and possessions? When did we begin to seek them, instead of Him?
Jesus reminds us of the difficult journey we must choose in this world to win everlasting life beyond it. Why must it be difficult? Consider: when is transformation easy? During childbirth, relocation, reconstruction, cross carrying or walking in blind faith? Surely not!
Now consider the narrow gate, a.k.a., 'The Door of the sheep' (John 10:7), Who is Jesus. He stands as the Door to 'A new Heaven and a new Earth' and 'The holy city, New Jerusalem...' (Revelation 21:1-2).
In the Apostle John's vision of Revelation, he said, 'The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl' (v.21). Why pearls? A pearl is formed when a foreign body is introduced into an oyster.
'To ease this irritant, the oyster's body takes defensive action. The oyster begins to secrete a smooth, hard crystalline substance around the irritant in order to protect itself. This substance is called 'nacre.' As long as the irritant remains within its body, the oyster will continue to secrete nacre around it, layer upon layer. Over time, the irritant will be completely encased by the silky crystalline coatings. And the result, ultimately, is the lovely and lustrous gem called a pearl.*
Unlike other gems, a pearl needs no mining, cutting, refining or polish. Once discovered, a pearl is already shimmering and iridescent. It seems to glow from within. Among pearls, there is One, Jesus: The Pearl of Great Price.
As a Man, the foreign substance injected into His Body was our sin. The pain He endured caused Him to be covered by a lustrous coating of radiance, like a pearl. Consider this pearly coat to be the armor of God: a dazzling defense. Satan lost.
Because when God's Spirit enters us, so does His Power. It covers us who are filthy-ragged sinners with an impenetrable 'Coat of many colours' (Genesis 37:3), a coat of light and incomparable beauty. It blinds and binds the enemy. He cannot touch us.
If the 12 Gates of Heaven are pearls, does each gate represent a founding father of Israel? Because each one suffered and all were forgiven. Similarly, saints made worthy by the Blood of the Lamb must suffer--to become pearls by the Hand of God.
We must choose the difficult way (suffering) to enter the narrow Gate (Jesus). Because beyond Him is God, Heaven and the good life, a.k.a. the Kingdom of God.
To be Continued...
Verses to consider on the value of the difficult way, a.k.a. suffering: http://www.openbible.info/topics/suffering
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.