The Narrow Gate
13 Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.
A Tree and Its Fruit
15Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16 You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thornbushes. 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19 Every tree producing bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. 20 You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.
21Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, “We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles.” 23 But I will tell them, “I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!”
Reflections from a young leader listening to the Sermon on the Mount
. . . I had never heard any message from any Rabbi like this! This Jesus was radical. So different from what I had ever heard in any synagogue or the Temple.
What it meant to follow Jesus—to follow the God of our forefathers, to live a life pleasing to the Creator was so diametrically opposed to anything I had ever heard before. If this was truth, it was so new. This message was so much more than what every leader had ever taught me before.
I think it meant I had to live a life of sacrifice. It meant a completely different life. It wasn’t just do’s and don’ts. It wasn’t a set of rules and laws. It wasn’t doing things to please others. It wasn’t trying to follow a formula.
It meant that God measured faith by fruit, not by following rules and regulations.
This was a scary message. If what Jesus was telling me was true it meant that just acting like a good Jew was not enough! And it wasn’t just me. It was the many other leaders sitting listening too.
Somehow we thought it was all about being good Jews, good God followers, people of the truth. God’s chosen ones. But this Jesus, he was saying a life of faith was so much more.
I felt like Jesus was cutting into my heart and soul.
Jesus, I keep falling into the practice of religious do’s and don’ts. I try to please others and do the right things. Forgive me. Help me to listen to your Spirit calling into my heart. Help me to live following you. You alone.