If you’ve driven south out of Markesan on highway 44 lately, you may have noticed that the highway department has an important message for you at the front of the Markesan cemetery. As the photo shows, a big orange sign was left leaning against the stone entrance, reading ‘ONE LANE ROAD AHEAD.’
Whether they intended to or not, the road workers have been doing a good job doubling as preachers. The headstones behind this sign remind us that we are all truly going down a path which arrives at the same place–the grave. It is a one lane road from which no one returns to this life.
Jesus talked about what lies at the end of this ‘one lane road’ when He said: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (Jn. 10:9). The gate that Jesus speaks of is even narrower than you may have thought. Only a few will enter the gate at the end of the road that leads to endless joy and pleasure with God in heaven. Since you are heading down the ‘one lane road’ toward your grave, how can you be sure what this “gate” is at the journey’s end? Consider carefully, for your very life depends on the answer to this question!
A great many people are headed for a crash at the end of the road. They may think “there is much that is good in my life to balance out the bad.” But the Lord is not looking for a good balance. He says: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mt. 5:48); and “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).
God does not tell us that we must try very hard to be as “good” as we can be, and that most people are going to be “good enough” when Christ comes to judge the world on the Last Day. The Bible makes it clear that, try as we might, there is no one who will be counted “good enough” because of what they did in this life. Rather, it says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Hoping to enter into heaven through the gate of your own goodness will only result in eternal condemnation, misery, and separation from God — an endless dead-end in hell.
According to Jesus: “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt. 7:13-14). The real gate to life is truly “narrow,” but Jesus does not use this word in the sense of “constricting and constraining.” Instead, it is “narrow” in the sense of being very specific. What Jesus wants us to know is that there is one, and only one, gateway to heaven. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He says; “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6).
In practical terms that means that there is only one way for you to enter through the right gate at the end of the road, and that is to give up on the hope of entering heaven because of what is good in you. Instead, let your heart rest on what Jesus did for you. It is His perfect goodness that covers your sins. It was His death on the cross that paid the high price for your free admission to heaven. Finally, it is His resurrection that proves that, for those whose hearts rest on Him, the graveyard is not a final resting place, but only the gateway to a new and glorious life!
Everyone without exception travels the ‘one lane road’ that leads to the grave. In His Word God shows you what the “narrow gate” is that lies a the end of that road. It is His Son, Jesus, who promises: “Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (Jn. 11:26).
— Pastor Bruce Naumann , Faith Lutheran Church, Markesan, Wis.
(This article was originally written for the pastor’s local