Acts 9:1-2 NASB
“Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
“…So that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women…”
The first Jewish followers of Jesus called themselves disciples of “the Way,” a name that echoes Jewish halakha, the “way of life” enshrined in the Torah, as well as the disciples’ belief that Jesus was “the way” to God the Father.
Later, in Antioch, as the gentiles accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believers began to be known as “Christians” (Acts 11:26).
I can’t help but feel a certain fondness for the terminology of “the Way”. Of course, when I hear this terminology spoken, I immediately think of Jesus telling us that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no man comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
Jesus is indeed “the Way” and there is no other way except through Him. Yes, that is pretty exclusive but that is what the New Testament teaches, what Jesus taught and what all of the Apostles confirmed. There are of course, many who take offence at this clear exclusiveness. But Jesus is not just another “prophet” or “messenger” or “enlightened one”. No one else in the history of the world indicated that they would lay down their life for our sins and no one else in the history of the world, rose again from the dead, to authenticate the authenticity of His witness of God, with divine truth and the promise of eternal life. No one. Ever.
This reality sets Jesus apart from all others. It means that what Jesus taught takes precedence over what all others taught and it means that the teachings of the Apostles and early disciples, as recorded in the New Testament, takes precedence over the teachings of all others. There is no other “Gospel”, there are no other “ways”.
One would think that this “exclusiveness” would make people want to really consider all that is recorded of what Jesus had to say. One would think that the recorded witness of the Apostles and early disciples would be examined very carefully. There are of course, many who do but there are also many who don’t.
I recall a conversation I had with a fellow worker a couple of years ago where we were discussing the reality of God. The gentleman was very truthful. He indicated that he did believe in God, he just didn’t want to know anything more about God because of what it might require of him. The logic is relative simple, if I don’t know, I don’t have to deal with it.
That’s the direct honest approach.
But there are also indirect approaches that accomplish the same result. Christianity remains the largest religion in the world and there is a reason for that. The bottom line is that the claims of Christianity stand up to scrutiny. Men and women with all levels of intelligence, from all walks of life, from all professions, have examined the claims of Christianity and have been convinced of the truths of the Bible. That is a fact, even today.
Conversely there are men and women with all levels of intelligence, from all walks of life and from all professions who have rejected or disregarded the truths of the Bible. The methods utilized to reject the truths of the Bible are numerous and varied. Discredit where ever possible and then disregard. That is also a fact, even today. Different approach, but same result as the direct honest approach. Indirect approach: discredit, deny validity of and I don’t have to deal with it.
Proven facts of reality mean nothing if one does not want to honestly look at reality.
If the objective is to disregard, it matters not what is presented. And there are no limits to which man will not go to offset the logical conclusions of reality. Can’t explain the obvious creation of our fine tuned universe from nothing and the unexplained origin and replication of life from non-living matter, not to mention the extreme utter complexity of a “simple cell” or the code and replication processes found within the “simple cell” and DNA ? Not a problem, there must be multi universes that facilitate that probability. Science will never be able to validate that “theory” but it serves the purpose, we don’t have to deal with it.
No one ever dealt with reality like Jesus did.
I have a relative who rejects Christianity. I had asked him to read the Gospel of John and he said he would. After a couple of weeks I spoke with him and asked him what he had learned by reading through the Gospel of John. He said that he found out that he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. I suggested to him that I didn’t think he had actually read the Gospel of John. Turns out I was correct. That’s what God’s Word does to you, makes you look at yourself as you are, not as you think you are. There are many who don’t want to look at themselves from God’s perspective.
Jesus stated that He was light and those who wanted to understand and know God would come to the light. He also stated that those who did not want to know God would deliberately stay away from the light and prefer to stay in their own darkness (John 3:19).
Jesus stated that one of our primary difficulties, as wayward creations of God, was that we had a tendency to point the finger of accountability, responsibility and the desire for justice at others versus initially looking at ourselves (Matthew 7:5). It’s extremely difficult to read or listen to what Jesus says and not come away with a different perspective of one’s self.
Jesus shows us of His Father and shows us of ourselves. A totally difference set of perspectives, God’s perspective and our own and why we need what only He can do for us.
So the problem with humanity isn’t that there aren’t sufficient proofs provided, or valid reasons given or explained to us by Jesus and all that is contained within the Bible for why we are, the way we are, the problem is that there are still many, who just do not want to know. Listening to what Jesus says and following through with what He asks us to do does require a change in our mind set. The long and the short of it is that there are many who prefer their own mindset, and the difficulty within Christianity is that you can’t have it both ways. And the process of letting go of our own mindset and following God’s mindset takes time and is seldom easy. Not because it can’t be easy but because we have so little understanding of how difficult it can be until we actually try to do it. And this process alone, gives one a whole new appreciation for God’s ways and thoughts versus our own ways and thoughts.
Jesus is indeed THE WAY to God. Jesus is indeed Himself God, the Son of God, who came to this earth and walked among us, that we might know our Heavenly Father and be restored to Him again, through His sacrifice for us, on the cross. And to prove this beyond all doubt, Jesus told us that even though He would be literally killed, that after three days He would rise again, and He did. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
If you’ve never really opened that door, please consider doing so.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!