“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction and there are many who would take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life and here are few who find it.”
|Matthew 7.13-14, NRSV|
There is a song that begins, “Where he leads me, I will follow.” But as we learn from Jesus’ disciples, this is easier sung than practiced. It is easy to sing of our devotion to God but walking out the lyrics can prove to be a challenge.
And after Easter, it is hard to get persons to attend church. Christ is risen and our work here is finished, right? Wrong. Discipleship is not practiced on special days or for a set amount of time.
Discipleship is also not a matter of comfort. It is not about doing what feels good to us. It is not accomplished by keeping up appearances and certainly not our approval rating in society.
Instead, walking with Jesus can feel like a tight squeeze. There might be a desire for ease, for gain without sacrifice, for life without some little deaths along the way. But, our walk with Jesus is “no walk in the park.”
Jesus says his way is narrow and there is a limited spatial capacity. Few people will fit in and few people find it. There are no neon lights, red carpet or crowds there. In fact, the road is not even paved but it leads to life. Still, will you follow Jesus where ever?
Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, ‘Christ is risen,’ but ‘I shall rise.’
~ Phillips Brooks
Jesus has beaten death with his hands pinned to a cross. This is no arm wrestle. His victory gives new meaning to the expression, “He won hands down.” But, it is not just his hands but his feet that were held down– not with hands but nails. And he did it without the assistance and intervention of God, forsaken (Matthew 27.46). He is the undefeated even when his divinity is held back. This is the power of God!
He is fixed to the cross, secured to suffer. There is no wiggle room as his movements will only cause pain. The Christ is captured; the omnipresent God is held in place and made a spectacle by creation. They have nailed the Hands that feed them.
Afterwards, his body is taken down, placed in a tomb and they roll a stone over the One who can make rocks cry out. The juxtaposition is almost unbelievable. It is only possible because God allows it. The story does not fall apart because God is holding it together.
And this is not the end of it. Wait! There’s more.
Jesus gets up. Jesus has been raised from the dead and though not screaming fans, this performance causes the guards to faint (Matthew 28.4). He is the undefeated God.
He is finished with the cross and the tomb. But, he is not finished with his disciples. He is not finished with us. There is life and purpose after the resurrection because Jesus must now teach us how to rise.