One Way: Jesus 10/25/98

John 14:6
Page 1578 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST left us a legacy of love and truth. In love He spoke truth. What He said is always best for us to know, but it isn’t always what we want to know.

Jesus Christ was God incarnate. That is, God in flesh and blood. He was the God man walking and talking. When He spoke it was the voice of God speaking. His words rang with the realism of eternity. Being love embodied His disclosure became love revealed.

On the eve of His crucifixion He had one last time to share insights. This was more than a mere pep talk. He is sharing how we can live in contact with Him and eventually share His dwelling place, Heaven. It is fitting that a persons few remaining words should be important ones. He wasted no time comforting His followers.

After hearing Christ speak of going away to His Father’s house of many mansions and assuring them they would soon join Him, Thomas asked a question: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” (Vs. 5).

Christ did not defer from sharing one of the most important realities of all. It is a truth for which His followers are often criticized. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.”

“I” is emphatic meaning, “I and no other always am the only way.”

Our pluralistic society prefers to hear there are many different paths but all lead to the same destination. Confidently we are told we are working to go to the same place.

If what Jesus said is true, and it is, and you wanted to mislead people into not getting to the Father what lie would you perpetuate? The deceiver has created numerous counterfeits and in this way he leads many on dead end paths.

If we believe what Jesus said was true we cannot remain mute. If you had friends in a building on fire and you knew a way out and they didn’t what would be the most loving thing you could do?

Would it be to say there are many doors take your pick? Would it not be to say there is only one way out and I want you to follow me to safety? If you knew there to be only one way wouldn’t it be loving to tell your friends there is only one way?

We are told it is bigoted and narrow minded to insist Jesus is the only way to the Father. In many areas of life there are defined and limited exact standards.

There are 16 ounces and only 16 ounces, no more and no less, in a pound.

There are 12 inches and only 12 inches, no more and no less in a foot and precisely three feet in a yard.

There are exactly 440 vibrations per second in A above middle-C on the piano.

Water consists of only two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen —- no more and no less.

At sea level water boils at precisely 212 degrees.

Colleges and universities have entrance requirements that must be met. They are spelled out and adhered to. If you want to enter you must comply with their requirements.

Nations have standards for naturalization. If you want to be a citizen you must meet these demands.

We accept all of these standards and requirements and comply. Why then do some consider Christ to be narrow and bigoted when He tells us the truth regarding there being one way to heaven?

We should not marvel there is only one way. We should rejoice there is a way.

If we have a potentially fatal disease and a competent doctor says there is one and only medical treatment that will work and without it death is certain, we would rejoice that our doctor is so wise and hasten to submit to the treatment.

If we were faced with legal action that could be disastrous and our attorney were to say there is only one course of action, but it is safe and certain we would marvel at the insight of our advocate and submit to his counsel.

Suppose a student were to apply for admission to a great academic institution such as Georgia Tech declaring, “I want to study logarithms.” The counselor would say, “Great, but first you must take basic math.” The student might protest taking math and insisting on taking logarithms. The counselor would insist. The student might assert that is mean and unfair. It is a bigoted rule that says I can’t study logarithms until I take math. The counselor would insist, “There is no other way. It is impossible for you to come to an understanding of logarithms unless you take the only way people have come to understand logarithms —- namely, the way is math.” There is only one way, math. Not psychology, physical education, or philosophy. Math only. The same is true of Christ.

Why then when Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” do we suddenly become critical and resistant?

If you believe Christ, you believe that. We believe that it should alter our behavior and stimulate our loving desire to tell others. Many churches have been cowered into not offending some persons by insisting there is only one way. I would like to tell people what they would like to hear, but that is not my task. My calling is to tell people what they need to hear. If I believe it and don’t tell people I am more heartless than a so called friend who would not warn a friend of fire and show the way to the exit.

Jesus said, “The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me…” (John 14: 10, 11).

Jesus was not exhibiting a proud narrow arrogance, He was making the only statement possible in light of what He knew and Who He was. He was God in flesh and blood. Get your Christology right and everything else comes easy. Get your Christology wrong and nothing is right.

As His minister I cannot alter, amend, or expand those parameters. If I am to be true to Him I must advocate His position. I can do none else and be loyal to Him.

Jesus is the only authorized revelation of God to humanity as well as the only authorized representative of humanity to God.

To us that is startling but to the ancient Jew hearing it for the first time it was revolutionary. The statement contained three of the basic concepts of Judaism.

Isaiah warned of false “ways,” “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30: 21).

We need to pray with the Psalmist, “Teach me your way, O Lord” (Psalm 27: 11).

What does it mean Christ is the way?

If you were to ask directions to a difficult destination a person might go to great length giving directions only to confuse you. If the person offered to walk with you and guide you there the person would then become the way. Then the person becomes the way.

Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Jesus has not just told us the truth He embodies it. The character of the person who teaches Latin, astrophysics, or zoology does not affect the subject. The character of the person who teaches character is important. The person who declares what He espouses is the truth needs to embody the truth.

“I am the life,” was Christ’s third claim. What every person is truly seeking for is life with meaning. Jesus makes life worth living because He is the Life.

Proud parents named their newborn son Adoniram Judson. This brilliant child at age 12 was teaching the adult men’s Sunday School class the book of the Revelation from the Greek text. His genius was obvious.

As he grew his faith began to waver through reading the wrong books. He became such a persuasive advocate of atheism that not even his father tried to share with him.

He went to Brown University in Providence, R.I. There he roomed with another brilliant young man named Jeremy Ames. Soon he had converted Jeremy to atheism. Ames became a vocal advocate of atheism and gave Judson credit for helping him develop his arguments against the Christian faith.

Years lapsed and Judson, an aspiring actor, went to New York to fulfill his dreams. Enjoying success he returned to Boston for a visit. On his way the weather turned bad and he sought shelter for the night. The inn keeper told him he didn’t have a room available. Judson pleaded to be allowed to sleep in the parlor offering to pay full room cost.

The inn keeper relinquished and conceded there was a vacant room but it was next to a very sick man who had high fever and created a lot of noise swearing and screaming. The room was offered with an understanding of the conditions. During the early part of the night the man raved and shouted profanities. A few hours after midnight he got quiet and Judson slept.

The next morning Judson asked if the quiet meant the man was better. The inn keeper told him the man had died. Judson asked how he could deal with having a man die in his inn.

The inn keeper replied it was such a pity for the young man was a brilliant graduate of Brown University named Jeremy Ames.

The shock was so great for Judson that he said all the way back to Boston two words kept ringing in his mind: “death and hell.” Over and over he heard them.

Soon thereafter Judson committed his life to Christ and set sail for India to spread the good news. After a short time in India he went to Burma. Soon thereafter his wife and children died. He remarried and his second wife died also. For seven years he labored in Burma before he had his first convert. Soon thereafter many others came to know Christ.

Unknown to Judson there existed in Burmese folklore a tale that someday a man would come with a book containing the truth. The Burmese people believed Judson to be that man, the Bible to be that book, and the truth contained therein spread rapidly.

Are you misleading or failing to lead someone to the truth? May those words “death and hell” awaken us as they did Judson.

One of my favorite courses in college was entomology, the study of insects. Of the large assortment collected and classified there was one found to be most intriguing, the Procession Caterpillar. Their name comes from their habits. If one gets in line behind another it will stay and follow. If another joins them a procession is begun.

An experiment was conducted involving them using a large flower pot. One was set in motion crawling around the perimeter of the pot. In rapid succession others were put in the procession until the rim formed a ring all following in procession behind the one in front.

Fresh pine needles are a favorite food of the little creatures. A supply was put in the middle of the pot but no one left the ring to eat. They continued to go around and around in procession until they all starved to death.

We are such followers that we tend to follow the procession of beliefs of those like us. Many are spiritually going around-and-around in procession unwilling to break with the mass and live spiritually.

A list of the religions of the world will include Christianity. In reality Christianity isn’t a religion it is a relationship.

Every religion is based on a system of works whereby a person seeks to earn, merit, or deserve the favor of God. Christianity acknowledges there is no way to do so. Instead God offers us His favor and forgiveness based on THE work of Jesus Christ.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

One enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ by faith.

Jesus Christ said: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).