Experiencing Christ as our Broad Street

New JerusalemThe description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 includes, “the street of the city was pure gold” (v. 21). This street of gold symbolizes the divine nature as the pathway for our Christian walk both now and in eternity.

The Greek word translated “street” means broad. Many English Bibles (e.g. ESV, NASB, NCV, KJV, Darby) simply have “street” in Revelation 21:21 but we can also find “great street” (NIV) and “broad street” (HCSB).

This broad street portrays the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8) as the motivation and supply for our Christian living, our Christian walk. The more He makes home in our hearts, the more we are able to grasp what is His breadth (3:17-18). How wonderful that we may live in this unlimited Christ both now and in New Jerusalem.

In contrast, in Matthew 7:13 the Lord warns us that “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.” The Greek word translated “wide” is the same word used in Revelation 21:21. Why is this word used in two opposing contexts??

In Matthew the Lord is warning us about taking a gate and way apart from Him, which allow pride, self-glorification, love of money, lusts, and many other negative things to go with us. In Matthew we need the Lord’s narrow gate to exclude all those things. When we go through the narrow gate and have the fallen things stripped off, we walk on the constricted way with the Lord and find that He is broad, spacious, unlimited.

Today, we are still beset by sin, the flesh, the old man, and the world. We need the narrow gate and path to eliminate those things. In Revelation 20 all remaining negative things are cast into the lake of fire, so there will be no further need for the narrow gate and way. Then in Revelation 21 and 22 we have only New Jerusalem with its broad street and river of water of life.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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