Friday, April 18, 2008

Jesus is Not a Religion - Part 2

Jesus is the Way
When the Apostle Paul was in Athens, he "stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.'" (Acts 17:22-23)

What's interesting is that, even though Paul perceived these people to be"religious," he neither affirmed their gods nor the objects of their worship. He did not say, "Hey, that's great. I'm just glad that you are worshipers and that you've found some sort of religion. All ways lead to God, anyway."

Rather than going along with and affirming their ignorance, Paul went on to proclaim to them the One True God. He said, "Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God who made the world and everything in it..." For the sake of time, I won't get into Paul's entire speech, but he ends up by saying, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

There is no doubt that Paul, instead of succumbing to a tolerance of all religions, was proclaiming Jesus Christ to them.

Paul was referring to the One who had said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Here is a larger portion of the conversation that Jesus had with his disciples in which He spoke those words:

Jesus is speaking:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."

Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (John 14:1-11)
The question asked of Jesus was, "How can we know the way?" Jesus' summarized response: "I am the way."

Again, along the lines of what I previously said, is Jesus being haughty or arrogant or condescending when He makes this claim? Far from it! Let's remember what scripture says about Jesus! From Colossians 1 - "He is the image of the invisible God." "By Him all things were created..." "He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell." From Philippians 2 - Jesus, "being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God..." He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"

Out of His love and out of His grace... Jesus did all this for us! Jesus is the Way because out of His love and grace He made Himself the Way. "No one comes to the Father except through Him" because He has graciously and lovingly given Himself up for us.

More on "Jesus is the Way" coming up...

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