Really? Well, I believe that. The leaders of the Bethesda Evangelical Mission believe that. Lots of Christians believe that. But countless Americans have problems with the idea that Jesus is the only way to the Father - the only way to heaven. To them it sounds arrogant, exclusive, intolerant, and parochial.
Step onto any college or university campus in America, and muster up the courage to sit beside a student at a coffee shop and strike up a conversation with this question: "Did you know that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and unless you trust in in Jesus you won't get there?" Brace yourself! You are leaving yourself wide open for a verbal attack, such as: "That's what's wrong with this world. It's filled with too many people who think that their religion, their way of thinking, and their way of looking at the world, is the only way. I think that statement is just plain arrogant"!
OK! I think of myself as a fairly reasonable and agreeable sort of chap. I'm not especially fond of arrogant attitudes. So, how can I or anyone else agree with this quote in John 14 and think of Jesus as "the only way"?
Well, let me give it a shot! I think it was theologian, R.C. Sproul, whose argument went something like this:
Let's suppose, for argument's sake, that God created the world for the purpose of making human beings who would love, worship and obey Him simply because they chose to do so. To give them a choice, of course, they had to have some way of deciding not to listen to God.
So, let's suppose God put them into an absolutely beautiful world in which they had everything they could possibly want or need. Let's also suppose that God gave them one restriction - one thing they should not do.
Then, for argument's sake, let's suppose the first man and woman chose to go against God's wishes, and decided to do the one thing they were told not to do.
Let's suppose, that the consequences were far greater than they had ever imagined and that their first born son, became filled with rage and jealousy and killed his only brother. The world would then be off to a very bad start.
Let's suppose that things continued to get worse, much worse. Imagine a world that got so bad, so violent, so horrible that God said, "I'm done with it! I'm sorry I ever began this project" and decided to end it all by sending an overwhelming flood. But what if God, mercifully, decided to take one family that didn't seem so bad, and start all over?
Let's suppose that even this new start declined rapidly.
Now, let's suppose that God picked out a man and woman and chose them to become a select group within the ocean of humanity, to whom He would reveal Himself in a special way. Let's say He gave them laws to live by, and chose them to be a light to the rest of the world and would thereby draw the rest of the world back to Himself. But let's say that even that special people became just like everyone else.
Then let's suppose that God said, "I'm coming down there"! Let's say He decided to be born to a special woman and became a "God-man" - God living among us as a human being who would look like us, feel like us, and think like us, except that He never sinned (unlike everyone else).
Let's suppose that thousands of people admired him, loved His teachings, and were in awe of the miracles He did. But let's say that some religious leaders hated how He upset the religious apple cart (which was corrupt, but was working very well for the religious "in-crowd" yet at everyone else's expense).
Let's suppose those religious leaders worked up the crowd and got most of the people to agree that this guy was not as good as some thought He was. Let's say they decided to kill Him. Let's say that they found a way to get him whipped within an inch of His life. Let's say they then thought up the most horribly cruel way to kill Him. Let's say they crucified Him by nailing Him to a wooden cross.
Could you blame God, if He then decided to send down fire and wipe out all of humanity? But let's suppose that this "God-man" hanging on the cross cried out, "Father, forgive them"! And let's suppose that God took this horrific death, and out of some great act of love, turned this execution into a form of salvation. What if God decided that if anyone would repent of their sins and trust in the One who died on that cross and beg His forgiveness, that they would be given eternal life. Let's suppose that God turned this horrible murder into an act of gracious salvation.
Could anyone dare to tell God that He should have done more? Could anyone tell God that it isn't enough - that He should have provided salvation through lots of other people, too? Isn't that a kind of arrogance?
I think so!
That's the Christian message - that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should, not perish but, have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Death on a cross is His way!
God's love for the world is His truth.
Jesus' salvation, is our life.
That doesn't sound arrogant to me!
Pastor Bill Huegel