Today I want to look at verses 12-14 of chapter 7, once again focusing on who Jesus was speaking to, and on the context of the entire message.
(12)“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
(13)“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. (14)For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
This is probably one of the most well known verses in the Bible, quoted in various ways. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is one common version. It's great advice on its own. But where or how does this fit in with the overall theme of the sermon?
My contention is that Jesus is not bringing something new, but rather is seeking to restore the relationship between man and God to as close to as before the fall as possible. (See this post) In such a relationship God reigns supreme, not because He is an ego maniac as some would propose, but because we really do live in best harmony with God and others when we put God and His ways first. This means that we are not first, so when deciding what is the best way to treat others, it is not about revenge or how they have treated me, but about how I would prefer to be treated. The idea that we have to be treated well before treating others in kind will not do. No reading minds, no thinking about how they will react or maybe even take advantage of us, just treat them as we would like to be treated ourselves.
Think about what led into these words. Warning us not to judge others, trying to remove specks of imperfection from others while blinded by logs in our own eyes, and the good gifts that God gives us as a good father. What if God treated us as we treat Him? What greater honor and show of respect than to want to follow om a fathers footsteps!
Do you want eternal life? Do you want your best life now? Then stop looking as the world looks and recognize that it is not about you. Eternal life is more than getting to heaven so you can reunite with others. Your best life now is not about possessions or material blessings. There is a path that many follow through the wide gate of "me first." The gate we choose is the gate of God and others first. That gate is narrow, but don't worry, there is not a crowd looking to enter that way. They think that the other gate will take them to the same destiny. I think they are in for a surprise.