Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Finding a parking place in a full lot can be so frustrating some days. It was raining the day I’m thinking about and I was late getting to an event my grown daughter invited me to attend. I found myself at the very end of the parking lot and noticed one more row of cars with a space available at the very end. I could see that the arrow on the asphalt was pointing at me, indicating I would be going the wrong way if I drove directly to the spot I coveted. My challenge was that I would have to leave the entire parking lot, go back onto the street and find another way in to get to the spot which would surely be gone by the time I got there.
I believe in rules
I know they are designed for a purpose, but in this case, I saw no harm in going the wrong direction just this once. No one was coming toward me ,and I was not being unsafe. I was late for goodness sakes! Well, the police officer hidden at the very end of the parking lot did not agree with my reasoning and gruffly admonished me with, “One way means one way, Miss.” (At least he called me Miss!). So, he proceeded to write me a ticket and I ended up going to traffic school to keep my impeccable record clean. I also paid a hefty fine for my “moving violation”. Is going five miles an hour really considered moving?
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He makes it pretty clear. We can try a shortcut – but it won’t get us to heaven. We can hope and pray that God didn’t really mean what He said – but He does. In Acts 4:12, Peter says to the rulers and leaders of the day who were responsible for crucifying Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Free will allows us to choose
God gave Adam and Eve everything they could possibly want or need to live a perfect life. He also gave them a free will and one simple rule: Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They ate and man fell from grace with God. And as a result, we all became contaminated with sin and sentenced to death. God had no obligation to provide a way out of our condemnation. But, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
I’ve talked to people who say things like, “My God would not be so closed minded and cruel to allow good people to go to hell because they don’t believe in Jesus.” My answer: He’s NOT. He does not send them to hell (yes, a real place). They send themselves. We often neglect to focus on the important verses after the ever popular John 3:16. Let’s look at it in the context of John 3: 16-18:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
What an incredibly loving, merciful sacrifice. For some who say that it is too narrow for God to allow only one way to heaven, I say “Thank you Lord for providing such a beautiful crimson path to eternal life.” When we are feeling like life is less than we’d hoped or more painful than we’d expected, let us remember His pain and sacrifice. Let us remember that this life is not our ultimate destination. It is just a blip in time. And not only is Jesus the only way to the Father and Heaven. Jesus is the only way to find peace and contentment today.
Living in the Italian part of Switzerland for two years and attending church there, I heard the verse above many times in that language. It reads like this: “Io sono la via, la verita, i la vita”. In any and every language, the hope of eternity reads the same: Jesus…Jesus…Jesus!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the way…the truth…and the life, which is found only in Jesus. Please help me to fully appreciate Your sacrifice. Give me the words to share your hope of salvation with those who are lost. Amen.
Do I believe that Jesus is the only way? And, if I do…who in my life does not know this most important truth?