We are now in the “exhortation” section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. An exhortation is a statement urging someone to do something. In vv. 13-27, Jesus closes His Sermon with a series of four exhortations.
The first exhortation is a command to enter the narrow gate in vv. 13-14. The second is a warning against false prophets in vv. 15-20. The third is a word of caution against the workers of lawlessness in vv. 21-23. The fourth is an encouragement to build one’s house on the rock in vv. 24-27.
Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 7:13). In this first exhortation, Jesus distinguishes between the wide and narrow gates. He differentiates between the easy way and the hard way—the way of life and the way of death.
Jesus draws on the OT way of presenting a choice between life and death. Deut. 30:15 reads, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” Jer. 21:8 says, “‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.’”
Jesus presents the same choice in this first exhortation. He begins by giving a command to enter the narrow gate. Then He gives two reasons for this command.