Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
This is the famous verse that most Christians know by memory. This is also one of the seven “I am” declarations of Jesus Christ that appears in the gospel of John (6:48; 8:12; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1). Although all three (way, truth, life) of these are equally important, let me share something profound about Jesus being the way of our lives. Jesus is the way. But let’s be more accurate: Jesus is the ONLY way.
Let’s consider the social, cultural, and religious context of the time when Jesus lived on Earth. Many people followed after philosophical ideas, after miracles, signs, and wonders, and after religions that were syncretic and conformed to the realities of the society.
Within this social and religious context, Jesus boldly answers to the question of His disciple: “I am the way.” Although other doctrines that did not include God within their soteriology (theology of salvation) were popular, Jesus never compromised nor conceded the truth with the reality of the society. As the Father is the truth and the life, Jesus is the incarnated truth and life that God the Father has sent to save the world. Jesus is the only way for salvation. As evangelical Christians, it is obvious to say and hear that Jesus is the only way for salvation. But in the Christian academic world and in the religious circle, there exists something called “Religious Pluralism,” which, in simple words, states that:
“There are many ways to go to heaven. In some day, we will be all in heaven, but through different ways. The start is the same, but the ways are different. The ways are different, but the goal and the final destination is the same for all. Not one’s religion is the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus, at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.”
The Catholic Church’s doctrine asserts that Jesus is the way to heaven, but they also assert that they can go to heaven through their good works. Other religions and cults say that they can go to heaven through belief and following of their religious leader or doctrine.
Even we, the Christians, feel that we could go to heaven through the good works and by assisting faithfully to the church every Sunday.
The Scripture clearly declares that Jesus is the only way to go to heaven. Only through Jesus can we obtain eternal life in heaven with the Father. Peter preaches this truth to the people in Acts 4:12: “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
More than just understating and perceiving this truth, it is more important to put this theology and truth into practice. The world has a wrong belief about “heaven” and about “salvation.” Therefore, in order to teach the world that Jesus is the only way to the Father, we must first live as if He is the only Way. Above that, we must live as if eternal life really exists after death. The church is responsible for losing influence over the unbelievers. We live in the world as if life after death does not exist. We live as if money, power, authority, good works, fame, etc. are the way to obtain salvation. Rather, let’s make “I am the Way” to become truth for unbelievers through our lives.
We may also know…
Jesus is the only way to be in the PERFECT WILL OF GOD. As Christians, we always fight to make the right decision. This is the same question that the disciples asked Jesus: “Lord, where should I go?” This is synonym to: “Lord, which way should I go?”
We don’t know where we are heading and where in the plan of God we are currently positioned. We worry about our future, and we are anxious about the decisions that we are about to make. Especially, we are concerned if the decisions we are making are part of the Perfect Will of God.
High school kids worry concerning their college, and the majority stresses because they don’t know which major they are to pursue. College young adults worry concerning whether they are going to continue pursuing their current major and work or are going to change it before pursuing the bachelor’s degree. Businessmen worry concerning the benefit and financial profit that their project might or might not bring to their company. Seminary students and pastors worry concerning church decisions and what kind of ministry they are going to do in the future.
This same concern was invading my heart and my mind for several weeks after I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Guatemala. Previously, I was pretty sure about going to the U.S. for seminary. But, there was a small, inner voice telling me to go where Jesus would guide me to go.
After many days of prayer, God gave me an answer based on Matthew 6:33: “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” The answer to the questions and worries of our future is JESUS himself. When we are concerned about our reality and worried concerning our daily bread, God’s answer to our prayer is this: “Just do what I did for the kingdom of the Father.” If we want to be in the Perfect Will of God, we must seek Jesus and do what He did on Earth for His kingdom.
We are sinful creatures that commit mistakes and errors. But, the Lord who lives in us is perfect. So instead of depending our decisions on our “inner man,” we must depend on the Lord who is perfect. Then, our way will always be positioned in the Perfect Will of God.
Photograph above by Miriadna.
Sang Hyuck Kim serves as both the Children’s Pastor and Missions Pastor at Korean Presbyterian Church in Guatemala. He graduated with a BA in Theology (emphasis in Transcultural Missions) at Central American Theological Seminary. He loves eating with people, doing God’s will, and the youth and children.