Most people reject the idea that Jesus is the only way to God. In fact, many believe Christianity is an accepting religion that includes everyone who sincerely seeks God. While most think religions have a few technical distinctions, they believe they’re basically the same. Such thinking conclude, “It doesn’t matter how you get to God as long as you get there.”
Some view God as the hub of a wheel with the spokes representing the different world religions. Others see God as sitting on top of a hill and the different world religions as paths to his divine presence. Tension builds when someone insists Jesus taught a narrow way to God.
But did he?
In John 3:18, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Again in John 14:6 we read, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
Christ is unique among the founders of world religions. While some promoted their teaching as the only way to God, Christ declared himself the only way to God.
Some people insist Jesus never actually claimed to be God.
But did he?
Consider his words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Upon hearing Jesus’ claim, we read, “. . . the Jews picked up stones to stone him.” Why did they want to stone him? That’s the question Jesus asked and they answered in John 10:33 where the Jews said, “For blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Make no mistake about it, Jesus made hs identity clear. He claimed to be God in the flesh and the only way to the Father.
But why would he make such an exclusive claim? From a biblical perspective the answer is clear . . . our sins created a chasm between ourselves and God (Romans 3:23). If we seek to bridge that chasm through good deeds or religious devotion, we will fall short. James 2:10 tell us if we live a perfect life but sin once, we’re flawed. And a single flaw disqualifies us from God’s presence.
Our situation would be hopeless had not Jesus died on the Cross. During those six hours he took our sins upon himself and suffered in our place. He paid our debt so we could enter God’s presence through him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Every way of approaching God, apart from the sacrifice of Christ, is based on a system of human effort and merit. Jesus said: “I am the way,” (John 14:6).
Jesus of Nazareth taught a narrow way to God. The question isn’t whether Jesus taught a narrow way, but whether he was right.
Next week, we’ll explore that question.