Matt. 7:13-39 – Doing After Hearing
Having shared the Wisdom of the Kingdom, it’s clearly not enough to simply nod ones head, agree with the Master’s wisdom and then move on with life. There is a call to act. “The Narrow & Wide Gates” most definitely calls the listener to act on what one has heard, with the warning that it isn’t going to be easy. I mean, I think he’s serious when he notes, “and only a few will find it.”
My first thought is that someone can read the above admonition, and then decide that they are in that class of believers who are chosen and begin having an “us vs. them” mentality. But it’s not an “Us vs. Them” thing. The idea here was that one needs to act on the Lord’s word. I find it interesting the following verses are a warning about false prophets and the relationship between ones fruits and ones character (tree & its fruit). How closely one wants to examine the possibility that a “good tree” might produce “bad fruit” is another issue. (I’m thinking about poor longsuffering parents who cannot begin to understand what happened to their children). That’s a generational thing and this is more about one’s actions following ones intentions and character.
The section ends with a reminder of the importance to act on the Master’s teaching and not just listen and nod. The last two verses remind me of the difference between the power Jesus had in his teaching and those of us who can only ponder at it’s meaning. “He taught with authority and not as their teachers of the law.” I have to smile because so much of my own understanding comes from the academic/empirical side when there is a much more direct, personal way of understanding, like a child to his father. There is amazing strength in that (though I know that there is also a gift in understanding things the way I seem to). JBB