continuing the conversation: The Only Way?

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Yesterday morning John preached on the question of whether Jesus is the Only Way…we read from the gospel according to John, chapter 14: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’

There are lots of questions embedded in this one question. Are people who aren’t Christians going to hell? What about people who faithfully follow other religions? What about people who demonstrate what we might call Christian life (love, compassion, helping, etc) but don’t believe in Jesus? What does “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” mean?

John talked about the idea of the Jesus Window–that Jesus is a window through which the light of God shines on us and a window through which we can see God. If there are many dwelling places in God’s house, that also likely means there are many windows. What do you think of this idea? John went on to say that he believes the Jesus Window to offer the fullest view of God and to let the most light in. What are your thoughts?

At 9:00 the song after the sermon was called “Cannot Keep You”–how does this song help or hinder your pondering of this topic?

Click the “comment” link to join the conversation with your ideas, thoughts, prayers, and questions about this topic!

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One response »

  1. I am sorry I missed last Sunday’s sermon. I really like John’s image of a Jesus window.

    I have wrestled with this question almost as long as I have consciously identified myself as a Christian. One conclusion that I have come to is that God is fair and God is loving. The idea that God would reject a person because he or she has never been introduced to the teachings of Christ is repugnant to me. It is equally, if not more repugnant to think that God blesses one variety of Christian and withholds blessing from another based on how they express their faith. As I read the gospel I see Jesus caring for and ministering to others. But I have never found an example of Jesus requiring a person to pass a theological “litmus test” before he blesses them, heals, teaches them, eats with them, prays with them.

    Imagine what a game-changer it was when people began to conceive of their being only One God who was God of all creation, all peoples. All of a sudden all people are children of God. All people are cared for by God. All people are sought by God. Does God abandon one group of his people while raising up another? Does God bless people only according to their belief, practice, politics, cultural preferences, etc. I think not.

    All people, whether they are aware of it or not, whether they care to acknowledge it or not, live in relationship with God. Some, I will grant, live at a greater distance from God than do others. There are times when I actually think that I can tell you exactly who is nearer and who is further from God. But on those days I am under the influence of my own ego. I am exercising the hubris that comes with saying “I know better than you.” In fact, I don’t know better. I only know this: God is the Creator and sustainer of us all… ALL.

    As time goes on we see the world getting smaller. There is more diversity, more competition, more differences of opinion, more ideas about what is beautiful and noble and good. And as we share this global home this diversity sometimes leads to conflict, hatred and prejudice. But perhaps, just perhaps, God is at work here. Just as we became aware of monotheism thousands of years ago, maybe we are entering a time when we are becoming aware of mono-creationism. (I made that term up.) Maybe, one day, conflicts will cease, tears will be wiped from every eye, and peoples will be able to live under the same tent of God together.

    If there should be such a day coming, none of us will live to see it. But everyday that we live we do have an opportunity to live as though that day has arrived in our hearts. For me Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And his teachings tell me that God is too big to be confined to my way of thinking alone.

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