I used to love Choose Your Own adventure books when I was a kid. For those not familiar with them, they were books that would present a choice for you to make in the book that would affect the story. For instance, they might say something like "If you choose to stay with the princess turn to page 74. If you choose to chase the villain, turn to page 32." You would turn to those pages and continue reading from there. In a very real sense, we're faced with those kind of decisions everyday and the choices we make affect our lives. Of course, we have to consider the providence of God and the fact that He knows the end from the beginning yet somehow we are responsible for the consequences of our choices. As we begin to study this last section of the Sermon on the Mount, I believe it would be a good time for us to consider the choice that Jesus presents here in what is essentially an invitation at the end of this masterful sermon.
Observe, in verse 13 and 14, we see two gates (small/wide) and two ways or paths (broad/narrow). In verses 15 through 20, Jesus says there are two trees and two different kinds of fruits. As we read on in verses 21 through 23, we notice that there are two responses by people to Jesus, those who insincerely call Him "Lord" as opposed to the unmentioned but implied group who are sincere in their affirmation of His Lordship. We see, in verses 24-27, that there are two builders, two houses, and two different results of the storm on the two houses.
Do you get the feeling that Jesus was trying to make a point?
The specifics of each of these situations are worth studying on their own but it is instructive to note that the general theme of this section is that there is a choice to be made and there is not an equal outcome to each of those choices. There is a good and a bad--a right and a wrong and we are responsible for what we choose. You can't escape the fact that being a Christian, choosing to follow Jesus as a disciple, means choose to not follow you own will, ideas, and feelings. In fact, a disciple of Christ denies himself or herself and follows the Lord.
There are not many ways to heaven. There are not many truths. You and I have, in these verses, a choice to make. Shall we be faithful to Him who called us, or try to get to heaven our own way?
Make your choice.