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Friday, January 21, 2011

One Way to the Father

One Way to the Father

A desirable uniqueness

Uniqueness is desirable. The one-of-a-kind, tailor-made dress, a special-made gun, a modified car, a custom-made computer are desirable. They are a source of pride for people who own these things. Imitations of unique claims or products have the effect of diluting and lessening the originality of uniqueness. However, this desirability of things does not necessarily hold true of statements.

A unique statement

Jesus made several unique statements. One of those unique statements is captured in these words in John 14:6 No one comes to the Father, but through me. This unique claim has been a source of awe and boldness for Christians over the centuries. In our modern age it has become a source of uneasiness for disciples even as they hold fast to that unique claim. Other believers proclaim a message diluted and ineffectual. A lack of understanding has eroded their confidence and boldness resulting in them proclaiming the message of Jesus as just another of many ways or truths which lead to God. What the world, and many believers, do not understand is this claim of Jesus as the one way to the Father is not something made up by Christians. For Christians to suppress and keep silent on that claim would be like Peter suppressing, keeping silent and ultimately denying his knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Diluting the claims of Jesus is no different than denying the call of Jesus to love our enemies, the crucifixion or the resurrection. It is the believer who mistakenly alters the core message of his own faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior who suffers the great loss.

The world response to uniqueness

Let’s be clear about this particular claim made by Jesus: It did not endear him to the people. They resisted his claim. They despised him for what they perceived as audacious blasphemy on his part. Those who opposed him and took exception to his claim were fellow Jews in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder then that our first century Jewish brothers and sisters in the faith were not surprised by the world’s reaction to the Christian (as the world first called the disciples of Jesus, Acts 11:26) claims on uniqueness of Jesus’ and his message. What makes this claim by Jesus unique?

First, among past religious leaders, even among those whose teachings are currently practiced and taught, there is no such claim. Those leaders may have made claims the God they proclaimed as the only God. They may have claimed they were the only true messenger or prophet of the one God. However, none of these ever made a claim like that of Jesus. Even if there were anyone who made such a claim of uniqueness a question emerges: Where are the disciples who received their unique teaching? The contrast is stark: From the first century until today Jesus and his teaching remains active and alive in the lives of his disciples.

Second, what is the authority for their unique claims? Historically, real and alleged claims by various religious leaders have been limited to verbal claims. However, this claim by Jesus of being the one way to the Father would be just so many empty words _ if it were not for his empty tomb. Jesus made claims concerning his crucifixion and specifically the uniqueness of his own resurrection. Those claims concerning his resurrection were heard and known by his disciples as well as his adversaries. Even after his resurrection the reaction by his adversaries shows their knowledge of his claims and that they did not deny the event of the resurrection. Instead, the religious leaders conspired with the Roman soldiers to lie. The details of their conspiracy are recorded in the gospel accounts.

The desire of love

Lastly, there is nothing more unique than the love of God. It is this love which compelled Jesus to go to the cross. It is by this extraordinary, selfless, unique love by which he cried out for the Father’s forgiveness for those who crucified him. It is this same love which characterized our first century brothers and sisters in the faith when persecution came upon the church. It is by this unique love of Jesus stated he would die, died as he claimed and was resurrected as he claimed for the all mankind. It is this unique love the heavenly Father desires people respond to in love. This unique love of every man, woman and child who surrenders their life to Jesus as Lord and Savior is the one way to the Father.

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