Matthew 7:13-23 by -Angelo Europe-

     Chapter seven is a continuance of what is known as the greatest sermon ever “the Sermon on the Mount,” that began in Matthew chapter five and ends in chapter eight. What I am specifically looking at is chapter 7:13-23 which is near the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount.

     Now in verse thirteen and fourteen of chapter seven, it says “Enter in through the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus is telling his listeners to enter through a narrow gate and urging his listeners to avoid the wide and broad gate. To go through the narrow gate would cause people to go in one at a time as though he was saying you come in alone, and with no one else but you. Then he warns his listeners about the wide gate, through this gate everyone can come in at once for it is wide and broad, there is enough room to make you feel comfortable, but there is a problem with the wide gate, it leads to destruction. The word destruction is important, in Greek it is Apwleia(apoleia) which in the New Testament refers to the state after death wherein exclusion from salvation is a realized fact, wherein man, instead of becoming what he might have been, is lost and ruined. And then he says “there are many who enter through it.” Here the Lord is saying that the majority of the people will be lost, the many seem to be those who like the comfort of the world and its pleasures, and they just go along with the crowd.

     In verse fourteen Jesus adds “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus says that the only way to life is through the narrow way and the small gate, we know from the Holy Scriptures that it says Jesus is the way (John 14:6) he is the gate or the door to eternal life. Jesus says that there are few who find it, meaning that in order to go through the narrow gate you must find it, go in search of it, this is saying it’s not easy to find the gate you can’t just stumble upon the gate, it is as when GOD told the Hebrews who were in exile in Jeremiah 29:13,14 that if they seek Him He will be found, and he him self is seeking for us. The many in verse 13 are not even willing to look for it they want a quick fix or easy religion what ever they think makes them happy.

     Now in verse fifteen Jesus gives us a warning he says “watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Here Jesus is saying be aware, or on alert, of false prophets, here the words false prophet in Greek yeudoprofhths (pseudoprophetes) a pretend foreteller or religious imposter, comes in unnoticed looking like a believer and even acting like one but on the inside he is a wolf and his heart is full of hate, worldliness, and sin.

     From verses sixteen through nineteen Jesus uses an analogy of good fruit and bad fruit, in other words a true convert and a false convert, and it ends with the bad tree that produces bad fruit being cut down and thrown into the fire or the false convert being thrown into the lake of fire, and in verse 20 he concludes the analogy that they can be recognized by there fruit, but we must be on the watch.

     In verses twenty one through twenty three, the Lord goes on to say “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity.” Jesus is saying just because you claim to be this or that does not mean you will enter heaven, he says only those who are obedient who does the will of the Father will enter heaven. He says ….many will say in that day, Lord, Lord … we have the many who were on the broad road back in verse thirteen, they will say Lord, Lord in that day, the day of judgment as they stand before the Bema seat of Christ and they will boast of them self’s saying “…did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles.” They think this is the will of GOD, but they are false converts who are dressed in sheep’s clothing, but are wolves on the inside. They boast about there works as though they can enter heaven by their own standards, almost as to say Christ isn’t sufficient enough. Then Jesus will say to them “Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity.” Here Jesus clearly says to these false believers …I never knew you… the Greek word for “knew” egnwn (egnon) is the same Greek word in the Septuagint Bible where it is talking about Adam knowing his wife Eve. He is saying I never had a personal relationship with you, telling them to depart from his presence, this is the way to destruction where man is separated from GOD’s salvation, his mercy, his kingdom, and separated from Him forever. Jesus wants a relationship with those that are his, the very ones he saved. So let us therefore go in through the small narrow gate and have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, for it is a fearful thing to have GOD says to you “I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity”.


       The rhetorical device that I used was the pentad theory that was developed by Kenneth Burke his rhetorical theory is known as his dramatistic pentad that was presented in his work, A Grammar of Motives (1945).he divides rhetorical situations in to five constituent elements for analysis. The five elements of pentad are the act, the scene, the agent, agency, and purpose. the first two elements that I used was where the scene is taking place and the act, what was done or is being done, chapter seven is a continuance of chapter five were Jesus is giving a sermon on the mount that is located in the region of Galilee this is the scene. Jesus was giving a sermon which means he was talking to his audience that came from all around the near by regions and beyond Jordan this is the act in which he was doing. The agent is the person performing the action; here Jesus is the one who is performing the action of talking. The agency is the means by which the agent performs the act, the means by which he was performing the act was that there was a large crowd who traveled to see and hear what Jesus Christ was saying. And finally the fifth element is the purpose the reason for the action and the intended goal. His purpose was that they may hear the gospel the very message that GOD wanted them to hear that they may know the truth, and his intended goal was that when they hear they listen and respond in obedience to the message that they heard and flee from all that is sinful and turn towards him for all hope, peace, love, forgiveness, for the hope of salvation. I found Kenneth Burke’s theory of rhetoric the pentad to be very helpful in interpreting this passage of the Holy Scriptures to analyze the Word of GOD to read and see all that he is saying to them and to us, but I must not forget that interpretation comes by the Holy Spirit.


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