The history of the world’s religions seems to be very heavy on people trying to find favor with their gods. There is a persistent belief in a higher power, a wish to obtain good things or avoid bad things from that power, and a variety of efforts to influence that power.
In each case, though, how are people to know that they are appealing to a power that actually exists? How do they know what that power wants, and what they can do to influence it? If that power is really “higher”, then how are we to learn about it? By definition, it’s more than we are, therefore it’s more than we can know.
The Bible is a record of God taking the initiative to make Himself known to us.
He reveals Himself as omniscient 3, omnipotent 4, and omnipresent 5 (Psalm 139:1-18). With all of those “omni’s”, there can only be one of Him; there’s no room for any other God besides Him (Deuteronomy 4:35, Isaiah 45:5-6, Isaiah 46:9-10, Exodus 20:3). He shows Himself to be holy, loving, just, merciful, magnificent, intimate. He tells us what He wants from us: love, trust and, therefore, obedience (Deuteronomy 6:5, Micah 6:8).
So, now we know. But…
We’re rebels. Giving God the love, trust, and obedience that He wants (and fully deserves) interferes with doing things our own way. Given the choice, we decide on ourselves instead of Him. Naturally, that causes a separation from Him, a break in our relationship with Him. That separation keeps us from being what He created us to be. It means that we can never be our best, can never be truly our happiest or most fulfilled. Even more critical – due to its finality – that separation means that we are doomed to spend eternity away from Him, when we were designed to spend it with Him. (Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:23)
So, we’re stuck. But…
God loves us enough to provide a way to fix the broken relationship. That way is Jesus. He paid a great cost: God Himself became a man, for the specific purpose of giving up His life for us 6. God’s justice demands that all rebellion be accounted for; God’s love paid that account through Jesus 7. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Romans 3:24)
In that case…
How could anything other than Jesus bring us to God? If it were possible for me to jump through enough hoops to un-do my rebellion by myself, why would Jesus have come to die? Would God put Himself though that horror if there was any other alternative? I think not! That’s why Jesus said:
I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.John 14:6
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.John 11:25-26
The Apostle Paul, writing to his protege Timothy, phrased it as:
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all…1 Timothy 2:5-6
To try to reach God without Jesus would just compound my problem.
First, I’m broken because I rebel and insist on doing life my way instead of submitting to God’s way. Then, I try to fix the break…by rebelling and insisting on fixing it my way instead of God’s! Isn’t that the definition of insanity 8? Besides, it’s terribly ungrateful: “Yeah, Jesus, sure you died for me and all. But I’d rather keep trying on my own without you. Thanks, anyway!”
Without Jesus, there would be no way to God at all. So, yes, Jesus truly is the only way. But His way is more than sufficient, and is freely available to everyone who will accept it **. No other way is needed.
Thank you, Jesus!
** If you are concerned about those who lived before Jesus, or who now live in places where they haven’t heard of Him, don’t worry. Jesus’ sacrifice can cover them, also. God knows those who care about being with Him, whether or not they know exactly who He is. He understands those who realize that they are insufficient, and who depend on Him instead of on themselves (Psalm 34:22, Psalm 37:39, Romans 2:14-16). If we’re concerned about them, we can be sure that He is also.
In any case, you and I have been told. We do know about Jesus. That makes it up to us to decide what to do with Him: Accept, or reject?
Footnotes and Scripture References
- Although, traditional Judaism stops short of seeing the best part, unfortunately. Messianic Jews have found the answer. Hopefully, many of their fellow Jews will join them.
- See this article for some of the evidence that the Bible is trustworthy.
- always there, everywhere
- While Jesus did many other great things, such as teaching and healing, those were secondary to His main purpose of sacrifice. If He had stopped with just teaching and healing, He might be admirable…but He wouldn’t be Savior.
- Jesus’ resurrection provides the proof that His payment was sufficient.
- Insanity: Continuing to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results.