Is Jesus The Only Way?

“Sometimes people ask me ‘Is Jesus the only way?’ and of course the question alludes to a journey. It occurs to me that when attempting to be helpful in giving directions, some facts are more relevant than others. In this case, perhaps none more so than one: the question of destination. When asking ‘Is Jesus the only way?’ it begs at least one further question, which is ‘To what?’ or ‘To where?’

“In our society, it is not uncommon to hear the statement ‘All religions lead to God.’ Although it’s not a logical statement, I find the second part of it—the ‘lead to God’ bit—very interesting. There seems to be an awareness, however subconscious, however little thought through, that only God Himself is the appropriate destination. Where does this thought come from? …

“Don’t all religions lead to God? No, they don’t even claim to.

“I have found it helpful at times to ask, ‘What is the destination you are aiming for? What is the destination you hope would be true?’ It seems to me that in the search for truth and meaning, many of us are not primarily or only looking for logical answers, but for a response to the existential longing for true life.

“Jesus says that He has come so that we might have life and life in all its fullness—life abundantly. The Message translation puts it as ‘real and eternal life, more and better life than [you] ever dreamed of’ (John 10:10). But what I find so intriguing about this is that Jesus tells us not just that He will give us life, not just that He will change and transform our lives, not just that He will show us the way to life, but that He Himself is the life (John 14:6). In other words, He is the destination. There is one faith that does claim to lead to God: Jesus stands unique across the ages. He is not simply the means through which we might get to some other destination. He is not a means to an end. Relationship with Jesus is the end.” —Tanya Walker, in A New Kind Of Apologist

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How Should Christians Handle Unfriendly Earthlings?

Christians are citizens of Heaven who are merely passing through Earth, so this isn’t a Christian’s final home. Because of this, it’s not unusual for Earthlings to mistreat, insult, and even persecute these “aliens and strangers.”

How are Christians supposed to respond to this?

First off, let’s make sure the persecution is for the right reason. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matthew 5:11).

Jesus also told us that this persecution has a blessing in it: we would be able to share our faith in Jesus Christ at the highest levels on Earth: On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them” (Mark 13:9).

In 1 Peter 3:8, the apostle tells us how to live with everyone, Christian and Earthling alike:

  1. Harmoniously—keep The Main Thing the main thing; don’t get caught up in petty arguments
  2. Empathetically—put yourself in others’ shoes
  3. Kindly—treat everyone like a sibling that shares the same parents with you
  4. Compassionately—be strong enough to handle other people’s stuff
  5. Courteously—remember this: manners matter!

This list may be easy to live out when people are friendly to you, but what about when unfriendly Earthlings are downright mean to you? In the very next verse Peter gives us two Don’ts and one Do:

  1. Don’t repay evil with evil—Jesus is our example of this (see 1 Peter 2:21-23)
  2. Don’t insult the insulters—treat others as you want them to treat you (Luke 6:31)
  3. Do bless those who slander and persecute you—Jesus says we get absolutely no credit if we only treat kind people kindly (see Luke 6:32-33)

In Psalm 35 David is dealing with people who are fighting against him. They are saying mean things and trying to do even meaner things. This prayer shows both God’s part and our part

God’s part—defend me against the evildoers … remind me of Your salvation … pursue those who are falsely pursuing me … stay close to me.

My part—listen to God’s voice of assurance … live quietly … don’t give others cause to mistreat me … pray for those who persecute me … continually turn my thoughts and praise to God.

Peter wraps up this thought with these words—Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even it you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed (1 Peter 3:13-14).

Don’t give in to mistreatment and lash out in anger. Trust God to handle things. Keep on living a good life that is focused on bringing God all the glory due His name!

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