I met Jesus at the crossroads

By David A. Liapis

Thoughts on Matthew 7:13

There was a song I learned in children’s church more than 30 years ago that I think of when I read this passage, and I can still sing today. The song started with line, “I met Jesus at the crossroads, where the two ways meet,” and, like the rest of the song, was accompanied by poster-board illustrations. The image of the two roads is burned into my memory – one straight and narrow, sparse with people on their way to heaven; the other broad and winding, full of laughing people headed for destruction.

The next few lines go on, “Satan, too, was standing there. He said ‘Come this way. Lots and lots of pleasures I will give to you today!’” The only things I recall about this portion of the poster board were drawings of hypodermic needles. “Why in the world,” I thought as a young kid, “would getting shots be included with the ‘pleasures’ Satan offered?” The choice to follow Jesus was an easy one if choosing the broad path meant getting shots!

We may laugh at that, but there’s a reality I didn’t account for at that age, nor did the song mention. The rest of the song goes like this:

But I said “NO! There’s Jesus here

See what He offers me:

Down here, my sins forgiven

Up there, my home in heaven

Praise God, that’s enough for me!”

I understood the way that leads to life is narrow and “those who find it are few.” However, the part about the way being “hard,” as Jesus states in the verses from which this song was derived, was not really discussed. Even though my church was by no means overtly teaching a false health, wealth and prosperity “gospel,” I, at least, was led to believe that following Jesus meant that life was going to be pretty much a smooth ride on the narrow path all the way to glory.

I’m not saying this song is bad. I like it still, and it has caused me to think about my actions and choices over the years (as goofy as that sounds). However, I believe there are some missing lines that could make it more true to the passage at hand.

I met Jesus at the crossroads

Where the two ways meet

I chose that day to follow Him

When He said “Come this way

Trials and tribulations I promise you today

And He said “GO!” into the world

Give up all to follow me

Give up your worldly passions

Give up your ease and comfort

Lay down your life and follow me!

Those who come to Jesus so he will fix their problems in this life and grant them entrance into the kingdom of heaven in the next will inevitably do one of two things: learn and embrace the truth that Jesus’ followers will suffer and bear reproach for his name, or fall away and ultimately reject Jesus and love the world instead. Second Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” while Matthew 13:20-21 say (of the soils in Jesus’ parable), “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”

There’s no ignoring or escaping the fact that we will be confronted with derision, rejection, and persecution if we live lives in accordance with God’s will. The darkness hates the light because it exposes “their evil deeds” (John 3:20), and we are called to “walk in the light as he is in the light.” Here’s the bottom line: Jesus promises us hardship and difficulty in this life. However, that’s not all he promises us.

Jesus also promised to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26 and Acts 1:8), which he did (Acts 2); and Jesus promised to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Paul the Apostle also tells us that whatever we endure in this life for the sake of Christ is but “light momentary affliction” that “is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

If you’re on the narrow path and are enduring the reproach of the world, be encouraged by the words of Peter: “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you … if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

If you’re not yet on the narrow path that leads to life and are worried about what you’ll have to give up and endure to follow Jesus, consider well the words of Paul: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Ease and pleasure in this life are fleeting, but the end is eternal destruction. May you answer the call to repent and trust in Jesus, and say to Satan:

“NO! There’s Jesus here

See what He offers me:

Down here, my sins forgiven

Up there, my home in heaven

Praise God, that’s enough for me!”

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