Summary: Understand Christ’s claim as the way to God.
“Leaving that place, Jesus led his disciples to Jerusalem where they broke bread at Club Upper Room. There he addressed them again, saying, ‘I am one of the ways, one of the truths, and just one possible life. If you are basically a good person, you’re okay in my book. And if you choose to come to the Father (or Mother, if you prefer) through Me, that’s cool. Now go forth and live according to whatever feels good to you.’”
- Ryan Dobson, Be Intolerant
This is how author, Ryan Dobson starts his book entitled, Be Intolerant. If you are familiar with John 14:6, where this “translation” comes from, you should notice that that it is not at all how the passage is really written. Instead, John 14:6 is where Jesus boldly proclaims, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Even though so many people know this verse and quote from Jesus it is often a verse that so many people have a problem with. It is often this verse that sparks frustrations and anger from non-Christians calling Christians narrow minded, intolerant and exclusive. It is often the verse that so many Christians will read and have a very hard time understanding because they don’t want to have to say their best friend or parent is going to go to Hell only because they believe something different. All too often, we choose to ignore the words of Jesus and instead live the way that Ryan Dobson worded this passage. Our actions and lifestyles say that Jesus is only one of the ways, one of the truths, and one possible life.
Over the next three weeks I want to look at this extreme statement that Jesus made. We are going to spend one week on each major part of Christ’s claim. Tonight, we are going to look at Christ’s claim to be the way. Next week, we will look at Christ’s claim to be the truth. And then we will examine Christ’s claim to be the life.
Almost all world religions would agree that man is in need of finding a way to God. Every religion claims to have a process of how man can approach and find God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that in order to get to God that they have to do “door to door work.” Jews believe that they way to God is by practicing strict obedience to the Law in the Old Testament. Hindu’s believe that the way to God is through mediation and yoga. Buddhists believe that the way to God is through following the Eightfold Path so that they will have no selfish desires. Muslims believe that they have to have their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds to find a way to God. And last but not least, Christians believe that Jesus is the way to God.
Out of all the religions and beliefs out there, people today debate if there is one right way to God. In our culture, most people would make the claim that there are many ways to find God. Often times, the way to God is described as a hike up a mountain. If you have ever climbed a mountain you should know that as you stand at the bottom, often times you have a few different options to decide how you want to get up. Even more so, as you choose a path and begin hiking you will come to different forks and turns in your path where you have to make another decision as to how you want to continue up the mountain. In the end, it doesn’t make much of a difference as to what path you choose because all of them lead to the same place, the summit.
This is how our culture so often looks at religion and the way to God. People would say that we are all on the same journey to God but yet we have the ability to just choose different paths. “All the religions and beliefs lead to God,” people would say. “They just take different routes to get to Him.” As we have already seen in John 14, Jesus would not agree with this way of thinking.
We pick up here just after Jesus has predicted that he was going to be betrayed by one of his disciples and then told Peter that he would deny him three times. Because of this the disciples are confused and scared, as it seems we so often find them. Jesus comforts them in verse 1 telling them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” He continues his comforting words in verse 2.