“Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.”

What? What about the grace? Now, Jesus says work hard to enter the Kingdom… Just before this verse he is asked what is the Kingdom and he answers in parable. In context he is also preaching to crowds – many who are religious naysayers- and healing people, setting them free of life-long disabilities. He is blessing people as he goes, and granting pardons that they may be set free from guilt, shame and all those “things” that work to destroy us.

So, what we see here is that while Jesus welcomes everyone, he knows that not all will enter in. Some will say the Bible is not credible, we have no proof, nothing to trust in. Things are not really any different today than they were then. They were eyewitnesses to many miracles and still questioned Jesus’ motives, authority, his sincerity. I think because they could not comprehend it, too good to be true, no scientific proof. Maybe because trusting does not come easy. Maybe because they did not want to be wrong, or have cause to change the way they think. Maybe because it felt like giving control to someone they weren’t completely sure of – the faith thing again.

So, the Kingdom in all it’s glory is still not come by as easy as it seems. It’s hard for us to receive greatness, peace, freedom. It’s hard for us to undergo persecution, trials ….and not choose the path of least resistance. “The straight and narrow”, I had never really thought of where that saying may come from, but it is all over Jesus’ teachings. Evidently, the Kingdom is free, it’s all inclusive, it turns away no one, it redeems and restores all – but the road is narrow and there are many who will choose another way. The next scene, following this one, we see Jesus weeping over the city. This must be why.

I suppose too, that is why we are not all Olympic athletes…there is a price. To stand on the podium, we must be willing to give up things that we want along the way…to walk the straight and narrow.

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”

Parable of the Yeast

“He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

What is your response to all this? What would you have done if you had been in the crowd that day? Thoughts….?