This week I was thankful for some helfpul comments from one of our members in light of last Sunday's sermon on Luke 13:22-30. In this passage Jesus commands, "Strive to enter through the narrow door" (vs. 24). Part of the comments I received pointed me to Matthew Henry's words concerning a similar passage in Matthew in which Jesus says, "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force" (Mt. 11:12):
An importunate multitude. This violence denotes a strength, and vigor, and earnestness of desire and endeavor, in those who followed John's ministry, else they would not have come so far to attend upon it. It shows us also, what fervency and zeal are required of all those who design to make heaven of their religion. Note, they who would enter into the kingdom of heaven must strive to enter; that kingdom suffers a holy violence; self must be denied, the bent and bias, the frame and temper, of the mind must be altered, there are hard sufferings to be undergone, a force to be put upon the corrupt nature; we must run, and wrestle, and fight, and be in an agony, and all little enough to win such a prize, and to get over such opposition from without and from within. The violent take it by force. They who will have an interest in the great salvation are carried out towards it with a strong desire, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing, Gen. 32:26. They who will make their calling and election sure must give diligence. The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the rest of them that labor. It is a blessed sight; Oh that we could see a greater number, not with an angry contention thrusting others out of the kingdom of heaven, but with a holy contention thrusting themselves into it!
Henry, Matthew: Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991, S. Mt. 11:7