Skip to main content

OT Background to the Narrow Road

I was preaching on Sunday on the narrow road bit of the sermon on the mount, Matt 7:13-14,
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
There is more here than meets the first glance. Long before Jesus' time choosing the right road/path was a well worn scriptural metaphor, e.g. Psalm 23:3, 86:11, Prov 2:20, to name but a few.   Now I think this whole section of the sermon, 7:13-27 echoes strongly Deuteronomy 30:11-20 where Moses puts "the decision" before Israel, but there are a further two passages from the prophets which I think should be seen a background to Jesus' words and applied when understanding the extent of Jesus' claims about his teaching and himself.


This is what the LORD says:
   “Stand at the crossroads and look;
   ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
   and you will find rest for your souls.
   But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I appointed watchmen over you and said,
   ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
   But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
Therefore hear, you nations;
   you who are witnesses,
   observe what will happen to them.
Hear, you earth:
   I am bringing disaster on this people,
   the fruit of their schemes,
because they have not listened to my words
   and have rejected my law.
Here in Jeremiah 6:16-19 we have this parallel of a choice of paths followed by destruction for those who chose the wrong path.  (Also compare vs16 with Matt 11:28-30)  But the most dramatic parallel is surely Isaiah 2:1-3.  Where the image of God teaching his paths on a mountain surely cannot be far from Matthew's mind as he relates Jesus' sermon on the mount.

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
 In the last days
   the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
   as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
   and all nations will stream to it.
 Many peoples will come and say,
   “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
   to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
   so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
   the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 
Let me know what you think, :-)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Dr Charles Stanley is not a biblical preacher

Unusually for me I was watching the tele early on Sunday morning and I caught an episode of Dr Charles Stanley preaching on his television program. Now I know this guy has come under some criticism for his personal life, and that is not unimportant, but it is also not something i can comment on, not knowing the facts. His preaching is however something I can comment on, at least the one sermon I did watch.

He started off by reading 2 Timothy 1:3-7. Which is a passage from the Bible, so far so good. He then spent the next 30 minutes or so talking about his mum and what a great example of a Christian mother she was. Now nothing he said or suggested was wrong, but none of it actually came from scripture, least of all the scripture he read from at the beginning. It was a lovely talk on how Stanley's mother raised him as a Christian despite considerable difficulties and it contained many useful nuggets of advice on raising Christian kids. All very nice, it might have made a nice…

The false link between suicide and mental illness

One characteristic of human society is the tendency to keep doing something over and over again despite it not working. One example would be our approach to incarcerating criminals to punish them instead of rehabilitating them, compounding their trauma and making it harder for them to live productive law-abiding lives when they get out. But this is the "common-sense" approach, the intuitive human response to the failings of others, punish them and they wont dare do it again. It has never worked, ever, but let's keep doing it. Secular society is screwed because it cannot comprehend that its vision is blurred by sin and therefore knee-jerk, common sense solutions are usually destructive and counter-productive.

So it is with our response to suicide. To kill yourself must be the response of the weak minded and sick - so the thinking goes - so to combat rising suicide we treat individuals medically. Yet suicide is a perfectly rational response to a world as broken as ours and…

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.