What Is The Narrow Gate Of Which Jesus Spoke?
"God has a narrow gate so people won't push and shove to get in," says Allen, 10. "You have to wait your turn to get in," adds Brittany, 7.
When there's a great sporting event, some fans sleep outside the ticket office in the cold to get a ticket. We may think the places in heaven are limited, but that's not the case, says Clayton, 8: "Inside the gate is the biggest place you have ever seen."
Heaven's capacity is always greater than the demand to get in. There are thousands of gates that promise salvation, but Jesus spoke of only one celestial gate.
"There is a wide path for many choices," says Shelby, 9. "If you make the right choice, you get to go to heaven. There's a narrow gate because not many people will make the right choice to go to heaven."
To say there's only one way or gate to heaven offends many people. Yet, that's exactly what Jesus said. Heaven is inclusive in that people from every race, nation and rank of society will be there, but it's not pluralistic in the sense that there are many ways to get there.
Many of life's most important decisions are made for us. For the first few years of my life, parents and authority figures made major decisions for me. Yet, when it comes to where we will spend eternity, God gives us a choice.
There are many ideas about the narrow gate. "Do not go be bad. Be good," says Erica, 7. I'm sure Erica has heard this many times from her parents. "Be good" must be the most popular parental admonition. The problem with "be good" is that it's a lot easier to "be bad." If you don't believe me, tell a child not to touch something and leave the room.
A man once addressed Jesus as "Good teacher." Jesus replied, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17). Even though Jesus was God, the inquirer didn't realize the implications of what he said. Like many, he was under the illusion that he could earn eternal life.
On the other end of the spectrum, some think the narrow gate is avoiding something really bad. "I would not shoot anybody, and God himself will help me not shoot anybody," says Jeremy, 7.
This is an absolutely true statement, but it's not the narrow gate of which Jesus spoke. We can always point to someone who has committed a sin that shocks us. If God graded on the curve, it might mean something. But he doesn't. Enter by the narrow gate and pass. Try another way and fail.
"You can go to heaven if you believe Jesus is the son of God who died on the cross for your sins," says Adrienne, 7. "It means you believe in him and you enter through him. I will enter through his gate when I die," says Brittney, 10.
Think about this: Jesus can't be only a good man because a good man wouldn't claim to be the only way to heaven if it were not true. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or God, wrote the famous writer C.S. Lewis.
Memorize this truth: "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).
Ask this question: Are you willing to roll the cosmic dice by believing all roads lead to life when Jesus said he is the way, the truth and the life?
Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer. To see more articles like this one, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/ColumnArchive.aspx. The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. See Carey’s Kid TV Interviews. Print free lessons from the "Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Let an 11-year-old girl take you on a trip around the world in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Scripture verses illustrated by child artists. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons.
Bible quotations in this Bible lesson are from the New King James Version.
Copyright 2006 Carey Kinsolving