March 9, 2020
Isn’t There Another Way?
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Isn’t Christianity just a little too exclusive? How can Jesus be the only way to God? What about all of the Muslims, Jews and those of other religions who don’t believe Jesus is God’s Son? Won’t God save them? Is there really only one way to know God? Isn’t there another way?
I used to struggle with these same questions. I was certain God was a nice enough guy that he would surely let the believers of other religions into heaven as long as they were good enough. Which brings us to the basic problem of Jesus and the solution. Jesus doesn’t point to a way; he claims to be The Way. It is either what we do or what he has done.
In society, it is all about the individual and what the individual does. It is performance based; performance is everything. You do well, you get ahead; you slack off, you lose out, get left behind or get let go. Let’s face it, it is a dog-eat-dog world and you have to work hard, or you are going to be worked over. We bring this same attitude to faith: performance. What am I doing to earn my salvation, to be right with God, to please and appease the Almighty? And Jesus puts this all on its head. By claiming to be the one and only way, Jesus cuts us off right there. We have no access to God through our own efforts or our own works. It is either through Jesus or nothing.
Consider it this way: wouldn’t it be surprising if God became man and then said, “I came down here just to show you away. Even though I am all powerful, eternal, the creator and maker of all, my life is only oneexample; you do what you think is best.” Does that sound like God? Does that sound like the one and only King of kings and Lord of lords? Wouldn’t you rather expect that the Immortal God, the Alpha and Omega, the Word made flesh said, “Listen, not your way but my way; you can’t save yourself, only I can do that. I’m the solution.” The problem with Jesus’ claim is not that it is too exclusive, it is that it is too simple.
The army commander Naaman embodies this idea of simplicity in 2 Kings 5:1-19. Naaman was incensed that all he had to do was wash in the Jordan seven times and he would be healed of his leprosy. It was too easy; this man on horseback wanted a great quest, something hard to do. He wanted to earnhis healing. But simply washing in an Israelite river? Anyone could do that. And that is the point. Everyone is invited to know Christ. All you have to do is get off your horse and put Jesus there in your stead; get off your steed and let Christ get in the saddle of your life and he’ll show you the way. There is no salvation without a savior.
So, is Christianity exclusive? No, all are invited to know Christ. Is Jesus the only way to know God? Yes, only if you let Jesus lead will you find theway, his way, the truth and the life. No, there isn’t another way.
Prayer:Lord, forgive me for trying to save myself. Thank you for being my savior and salvation, for being the only way, the only truth and the only life. Amen.