Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 ESV)
Often in our Western, Christian influenced, American culture we don't fully appreciate the radical nature of Jesus' words. We want to respect him as a good teacher, but we do it by dulling the sharp edge his words are intended to have. In fact, CS Lewis made a well-known argument that we basically have three options when we encounter Jesus: We can take him for a liar, we can ignore him as a lunatic, or we can worship him as Lord. He's a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.
This is how Lewis concludes his argument in Mere Christianity, "You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
John 14:6 is the kind of teaching to which Lewis was referring. No sane, well-meaning, human teacher can say, "I am the way . . . no one comes to the Father except through me." Can you imagine a well-respected teacher making that claim today? "You must follow me if you intend to have a relationship with God the Father." We wouldn't respect that man as a wise teacher. We would shove him into disillusioned cult leader status.
Jesus didn't leave us any wiggle room with this statement. If all he had said was, "I am the way," maybe we could have found some creative ways to wiggle out of the seemingly narrow statement. Maybe he meant I am the way for the Jewish people. Or maybe he meant I am the way for those who follow me. Creative minds, wanting to pursue their own way, find other explanations.
But, Jesus didn't stop there. He added a line that locks us in, "no one comes to the Father except through me." No one means no one. Jesus said that no one is able to have a restored relationship with God the Father unless they go through him. With those two sentences Jesus called every other religion in the history of mankind false.
Jesus came to earth as a baby, in the flesh, to make clear that the only way to a restored relationship with our creator is through him.
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