In 1988, a friend invited Jim and me to New York City to see the Broadway production of “Phantom of the Opera.” The music, lighting, sets, and costumes were magnificent however I found that the dark storyline was unsettling for me.
A “phantom” is just an artful word for a ghost, i.e. an evil spirit. Yet, year after year, this musical continues to be performed and has the distinction of being the longest-running show on Broadway. Thousands of people have been mesmerized by this gothic horror production.
The word “Broadway” evokes the idea of theatres, and the plays that are performed in that district. How did that area get its name? Was it once just a simple, wide street in that part of New York City? I searched the internet for the origins of “Broadway.”
I found that in the 17th century, Dutch settlers arrived in New York, and called their settlement New Amsterdam. The wide trail across Long Island soon became the main road. By 1776, a map of the city shows a road labeled “Broadway Street” – obviously it was a well- travelled thoroughfare. Broadway was one of the first streets in Manhattan to have electric lights, hence the nickname, “The Great White Way.” Today, the name “Broadway” is synonymous with lavish theatrical productions. People often have to wait weeks to obtain tickets to these shows.
When I think about the crowds of people, who pack into Broadway theaters to be entertained, I am reminded of what JESUS taught His disciples. To have a relationship with the Father, we must first enter a narrow gate and travel a narrow road; because straight (strait) is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life. Only a few people find this less- travelled road.
The gate is wide and completely open, and the street is broad that leads to destruction. Matthew 7:13-14 (paraphrased). Many people are on this broad and easy roadway of sin, and do not foresee the end result.
Luke 13:23-24 (TLV): “And someone said to Him, ‘Master, are only a few being saved?’ Then Yeshua, (JESUS), said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.’”
How are we able to go through a “narrow” gate, and walk the road described as “narrow?” We can enter by travelling the “road” that JESUS travelled - by doing what He did, and by doing what He says.
It was for us that JESUS left His position and the splendor of heaven. He became a self- sacrificing servant – our example.
As was the Jewish custom, the servant washed the dusty feet of the guests that came into the house. JESUS took on that role of a humble household servant at the last Passover supper. He even knelt before Judas, and washed his feet – knowing that the man would soon betray Him. JESUS walked the narrow and arduous road to Calvary where, with the greatest love, He became the sacrifice for our sins.
As we journey toward our life’s destination, we must choose either the narrow way, or the broad way. Visualize the victory at the end of your road. Persevere in faith, love, and righteousness. Let go of the world, and trust in God’s destiny for your life.
The broad and easy road, made smooth by the feet of the masses, leads to the culture of godlessness. At the end of this road is destruction!
When you seek God’s presence and His will, you will find that you do not travel your road alone. There will be challenges as you walk the narrow road to eternal life. You may stumble in the steep and rocky places. Other parts of the road may be pleasant. When the road ahead seems impassable and you are exhausted, remember that He is always with you – ready to lift you up.
At the end of the narrow and rugged road, we will rejoice! We will be thankful that we shall be with Him forever.