Come to God through the narrow gate, because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction— nearly everyone chooses that crowded road! Matthew 7:13 (TPT)
Blessed are the Peacemakers – The Roads and Gates Series – Part 2
The words above are a part of Jesus closing statements from his famous “Sermon on the Mount.” In Jesus time, the political and social atmosphere was volatile. Israel had been conquered and was occupied, yet again, by a violent, foreign nation, and were prisoners in their own land.
Can you imagine that?
History constantly repeated itself for the Israelites. All throughout their history they were invaded, murdered, slaughtered, exiled, enslaved, returned, invaded, exiled, enslaved… over and over. The tribe that declared they served the one true God had trouble defending their land and place in the Ancient World.
When would God deliver them? When would he establish them amongst and above the nations – with strength and power – as his chosen people? When would he avenge them? Show himself mighty on their behalf?
Most believed that the only way out of this situation was to pick up their swords and fight their way out. I wonder how many gathered in secret to plot and plan, to count weapons and encourage revolution? Did they know where each Roman official lived? Did they study their movements? When the guards changed? When they were at their weakest? I can imagine the air tingling with expectation and hunger, their hands trembling with the ache to feel metal in them, their dreams filled with images of their oppressors dying in the streets as they fought their way to freedom. Freedom paid in full by the blood of their enemies.
When Jesus took the short walk to the top of a hill – the mount – the crowd that had gathered to hear him were filled with questions and desperate for answers and leadership – “What did this new Teacher and Rabbi have to say?”
And in front of people who were willing to kill for their freedom, or who couldn’t think of any other way out, he spoke about something altogether different…
“Blessed are the powerful? Blessed are those who conquer? Blessed are those who are stronger than their enemy? Blessed are those who answer a call to arms?”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Blessed are those who mourn,
blessed are the meek, the hungry and the thirsty
blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart
blessed are the peacemakers
blessed are the persecuted…”
Perhaps not what the crowd was expecting to hear.
The rest of his sermon is just as surprising. He talks about being salt and light, turning the other cheek and going the extra mile for your oppressors. He told people to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. To give and pray and forgive. He taught them to value unseen treasures over material gain, and not to worry about anything, but pray about everything. Don’t judge others… not your countrymen, not your accuser, the Roman guard on your street corner, or Herod sitting in his palace. But instead ask, seek and knock… explore the depths of faith and life… look for another way, walk humbly, see and hear empathically. Walk through the narrow gate. Take the road less traveled by.
The narrow gate. A different way. A new way. The Way of Christ.
Jesus was about to change everything. Instead of Israel’s freedom being paid for by the blood of Romans, Jesus would allow his own to be spilled for the sake of Jews and Romans alike. To show us across the ages that there is another way.
Go to Part 3 – The Wide Gate »
Written by Lizzy Milani
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