The Easy Way or the Hard Way?

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Reading the Word

Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)

13 “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. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Parallel Text: Luke 13:23-24

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these two verses, Jesus speaks of two “ways” or two “gates”. One way, which Jesus says is wide and easy leads ultimately to a place where no one would want to go. It leads to destruction. The other way is narrow and hard. Few find it, but it leads to life.

When Jesus speaks of the narrow way that leads to life, he speaks of the path of the true disciple of Jesus. To walk the road of a disciple will lead to persecution and suffering. The way will be difficult because it will be contrary to what the majority are doing, but it will prove to be the right way because it does lead to life.

One the other hand, going the way of the world, while easy because everyone is doing it and it will be easy to fit right in, will lead to destruction rather than life. It may be the easy way, but it is not the right way.

Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can come to the Father except through him. It is Jesus who is the Son of God and came into this world to pay the price for the sins of mankind. It is Jesus alone who went to the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. And it is Jesus who rose victorious from the grave and conquered sin and death on behalf of all who will believe in him. It is through Jesus Christ alone that we can find eternal life. There is one narrow way. Living for Jesus in this world may not be easy, but it is the right way. It is the way that leads to life.

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He Must Increase

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Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish extra material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ in 2019 as recorded in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Reading the Word

John 3:22–36 (ESV)

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.