In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus instructed his followers to enter through the narrow gate, because the road to destruction is wide and easy and many take that route, not realizing that it is taking them to their ruin. On the other hand the road that leads to life is both small and can be difficult, therefore few take that route. The important question is what did Jesus mean by taking the narrow gate? A few verses later, Jesus would explain that many who think they had found the way did not. Even those who appeared to have lived in a manner consistent with Jesus would not enter Jesus’ kingdom. They prophesied, healed and cast out demons in Jesus’ name. Yet, Jesus will inform them that he never knew them and to depart from him because they practiced lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23). I believe there is a connection between these two sections. The road to destruction is so wide that even some who think they are following Jesus, who think they know him, are actually not known by him. How do we avoid ending up like these misguided individuals?
When I was in college, a friend and mentor instructed me that I should never allow that which is good to distract me from that which is excellent. It is clear that these individuals who prophesied, healed and cast out demons forgot what it meant to know Jesus. During his ministry when the 70 returned rejoicing for what they had accomplished in Jesus’ name, Jesus instructed them not to rejoice because they had authority over disease and demons, but to rejoice because their names were written in heaven. We are not to let anything, even the blessings and power of God working in and through us distract us from our destiny to know Jesus and be known by him.
So how do we know that we know Jesus? The apostle Paul answers our question. It is not through what we accomplish in this life, but the role of the Holy Spirit in our life. The Holy Spirit who was sent by Jesus to dwell with his followers, bears witness to our own spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). There are many ways we can live our life; the way of destruction is easy and broad and many take that road. There is only one narrow gate; that way is a determined pursuit of an ever growing relationship with Jesus, which leads to our living out the implications in our life of that relationship. Jesus told his disciples that he is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). That means truth is not what you know, it is who you know. Truth is not a “what”, it is a “who”, a living, breathing person, whom we know as Jesus.