John 10:7, 9-10: “So he explained it to them: ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.’”

Imagine wide open spaces….imagine a fence-less society … hey, how about a fence-less world? “Yeah, dream on!” you might say. Well, it is dreams and hopes that keep us going, I think. John Lennon wrote in his song “Imagine”: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.” – And I couldn’t agree with him more! Most importantly, that’s God’s dream for our world today. God rolled up His sleeves and went to work to pave a way to the fulfillment of this dream by sending us the Prince of Peace. He is the gate to this dream, and this dream is definitely not a pipe dream. We will live to see a society built solely on love and mutual respect, a world where even animals will stop killing each other, a world void of crime and abuse, a world where we can devote our energies to build, create, invent, explore, interact, and inspire. I rest my case.

Unfortunately, as we all know, our world today is quite different. While life certainly has its precious moments, we devote most of our energies to battle; just take a quick look at our country’s budget to see how much money actually goes into warfare.

On a personal level we’re battling too. There are lots of things competing for our attention, not all of them in our best interest. Whether we like it or not, we have an enemy to our soul. This enemy is somewhat mysterious and carries many different names: Lucifer, Devil, and Satan, just to name a few.  He may be mysterious, but his hate is very real and has affected all of us one way or the other. It’s on his agenda to bring us down, destroy us, and ultimately kill us. Thankfully, he got overwhelmingly defeated! That’s the reason why the dream of a world of peace is not dead. It will come true. We can bank on it.

God’s way of saving the world clearly has rubbed some of us the wrong way. We may think this is outrageous that God chose to become powerless and relinquish Himself. Letting go of His power and submitting to our limitations, how in the world could God save us this way? It just doesn’t make any sense! Yet, puzzling as this may seem, obviously God’s method of salvation is not ours to choose.

The Trinity then proceeded to select one of them, Jesus, to be the door opener to a new beginning for mankind. He conquered the devil by letting Himself get killed. Jesus upholds the principle of peace to His dying breath. That’s the principle of love, the kind of love that does not force, coerce, or take away. That kind of love beats evil. That kind of love brings about a fence-less society.

In a world full of fences and ongoing violence we are offered a different way of thinking and new code to live by. Jesus introduces us to this new world, starting in the here and now. He wants us to experience a meaningful life with a positive impact, a life that is a tremendous blessing, and friendship with God, which really is the greatest gift of all!

Matthew 7:13-14: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

If the gate to God’s kingdom is narrow, does this mean that God is narrow-minded? If the highway to hell is broad, does this mean that its inhabitants are broadminded? Is Lucifer tolerant and accepting of you and me because he lets us travel down a six-lane freeway uninhibited, while God seemingly hasn’t upgraded Heaven’s accessibility by holding on to an antiquated narrow little gate that people have to pass through? Not only do we have to deal with a narrow gate but also with a difficult road leading up to it … does this mean that God doesn’t want us in Heaven in the first place?

If something in the Bible rubs me the wrong way this usually piques my interest. It makes me curious, and I want to dig deeper. Nothing is what it seems – especially when it comes to God – and knowing that God has the biggest heart and the sharpest mind, there’s no way that He could be narrow-minded. So, what is up with this narrow gate and the bumpy road leading up to it? Does God just have a weird sense of humor? And is Lucifer being hospitable having a broad freeway leading to his hellish home? I believe we get the point when we not only look at the road but also consider its destination.

The comparison between the two roads is a comparison of lifestyles Jesus is pointing out in His Sermon on the Mount.  One of the eyewitnesses of the day when Jesus delivered this famous sermon is Matthew. Matthew and all the other disciples of Jesus sat down on a mountainside in Israel as an enormous crowd was gathering. According to Matthew’s eyewitness account Jesus opens up His sermon with The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3):

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

I believe this verse is the key to understanding the two roads. Knowing that we need God gives us an idea where to go. Not knowing that we need God makes us drifters because it doesn’t really matter where we go – and we may drift into all kinds of different directions – if we’re moving away from God, we’re on that broad highway. And I’m not saying that highway equals easy ride. It may very well be that we get stuck in traffic. We may bump into each other causing accidents. There’s road rage. It may not be such a pleasant road trip on highway to hell after all, to a point that some may eventually second-guess their initial decision, abandon their car wreck and look for that unassuming bumpy road leading to an unassuming little gate where we will receive a hearty welcome.

Being on this bumpy road for a number of years I can testify to the fact that God has never let me down. Here is an open secret I would like to share: walking with God is the most rewarding experience one can imagine. Forget about road conditions! God with us, Immanuel, makes everything worthwhile. And who knows – to let believers in, one person at a time, the narrow gate may accommodate for a personal welcome; embraced by the Savior of the whole world and affectionately held in His embrace we peek over His shoulder and see a huge crowd who preceded our homecoming, the crowd who also – one by one – proceeded to pass through that narrow gate right into the arms of Jesus. What a day that will be! Can you imagine?

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel, will I dance for You Jesus, or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing Hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine! I can only imagine!” (Bart Millard)