1. WHY IS JESUS THE ONLY WAY?
There is no figure in the history of man that has captured man’s imagination like the Lord Jesus. More books have been written about Jesus than any other figure of history.
More music has been composed in worship of Him. More pictures have been painted portraying His life than any other historical figure. In fact, every time you write a letter, you acknowledge His entrance to our planet because of the date. It’s been said that the “dividing time of history was on a Bethlehem door!” Jesus was and still is the most powerful person in world history.
But the question remains, “Who is Jesus?” In other words, was Jesus a mere man with great charisma, was He an extraordinary teacher, or was He the Son of God - the God-man? The great author and Oxford philosopher C.S. Lewis offered this perspective:
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a mad man or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool 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…”
So what made Jesus’ teaching and claims so unique?
The answer is that they were not merely a set of philosophical or ethical teachings, but they had to do with revealing the uniqueness of who He is and what He would accomplish.
• Jesus claimed to forgive sin. (Matt 9:1-8)
(Only God can forgive sin because sin is an offense against God).
• Jesus said He will judge the world. (Jn 5:27, 30)
(Only the One who is all knowing, and perfectly just can rightly judge the world to ensure justice and hope).
• Jesus said He gives eternal life. (Jn 3:16)
(Only the Creator, who created life can give life).
• Jesus said He is sinless. (Jn 8:46)
(Only God cannot contradict His nature of perfect moral majesty and holiness).
• Jesus said He is the object of faith. (Jn 8:24)
(Only God is to be worshipped!).
• Jesus said He answers prayer. (Jn 14:13)
(Only God can hear the hearts, whispers and cries of man).
• Jesus said He is worthy to be worshipped. (Matt 14:33)
(Only God is to be the first allegiance and loyalty in our life).
• Jesus said He is the Truth. (Jn 14:6)
(Only God who created us knows the purpose for which we were created, and the ultimate plan He has for man).
• Jesus said He has all authority. (Matthew 28:18)
(Only the Sovereign God of the universe could make such a claim).
• Jesus said He is one in essence with the Father. (Jn 10:30)
(The Bible identifies that God is triune in nature).
What does all of this tell us?
God wrote Himself into the “play of life”. Jesus (God who became flesh--John 1:14) came to find us! How else could we know the eternal God unless He revealed Himself? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except it be through Me!” (John 14:16) The main reason why Jesus is the only way into a right relationship with the Heavenly Father is because He came to fix the core problem of man. The Bible says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God …” (Isaiah 59:1-2). When Jesus gave His life on the Cross, He took our sin upon Himself. The Bible says, “He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him!” (2 Cor. 5:21) That’s why the Bible says, “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity--the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5)
The fact that God Himself came to earth- tells us how serious man’s problem really is!
Jesus revealed that the problem of man begins on the inside in the heart of man. In essence Jesus taught that: murder starts with hatred in the heart. (Matthew 5:21-23). The breakdown of sexual immorality starts in the heart. (Matthew 5:27-30). Who we really are starts on the inside! This means that there is a disintegrating “spiritual cancer” that all mankind is suffering from, and it’s called sin. “... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...” (Romans 3:23) “...so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” (Romans 5:12) “..the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Without a Savior man is doomed to pay for his own sin by death.
But Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” That’s what Jesus did - Jesus came and died in your place. He paid the debt of your sin before a Holy God on the Cross. It could be said that Jesus didn’t come with a sword in His hands- but with nails in His hands. He did not come to bring judgement -He came to bear judgement. Jesus came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. Jesus came to destroy “the darkness behind the darkness” in our world by fixing the core problem of man, which is a broken relationship with God. Then three days after His death, Jesus resurrected from the dead. Jesus said, “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)
You might ask, “Is the resurrection a scientific fact!?” No, it’s a historical fact! Science deals with repeatable matters (identifies details and mechanisms of how God created!); while history addresses unrepeatable matters. The evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming! The Bible says, "...Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:2-4)
To follow Jesus as the “only way” is the most important decision you will ever make in life! There not a greater reality than the Person and work of Jesus!
Is believing that Jesus is the “only way” a narrow belief? Yes. Is it an exclusive belief? Yes. The question is, what does this exclusive belief in Jesus produce? One answer is an inclusive love and care for all people!
Timothy Keller (a respected pastor and author) penned,
“Christianity came into a Greek and Roman world that was tolerant of various views. It was a world that everyone had their own god. It was a brutal world. There was a huge difference between rich and poor. Women were suppressed and oppressed! Following Jesus as Messiah was a light in this darkness. Jesus was creating in Himself a community from the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the Jew, the Gentile etc. It was Christian’s who were valuing and loving those who didn’t even agree with them.
And why would such an EXCLUSIVE belief system lead to behavior that was so open to others?...
It was because Christians had within their belief system the strongest possible resource for practicing sacrificial service, generosity, and peace-making. At the very heart of their view of reality was a man who died for his enemies, praying for their forgiveness. Reflection on this could only lead to a radically different way of dealing with those who were different from them. It meant they could not act in violence and oppression toward their opponents!”
Also, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand …For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures ...”