As I continue to explore the I Am statements of Jesus, the next up is from John 14:1-7.
This passage includes the following:
“No one comes to the Father except through me.”
These are the words of Jesus that follow up his identification as the Way, the Truth and the Life. This seems pretty straightforward.
If you are not going through Jesus Christ, you are not getting to God.
Worldwide, if you are gracious in who you would consider Christian, this means that a little less than one third of humanity has a legitimate relationship with God. As Wesleyans, we believe that God loves each person and is trying to reach them.
So either God is doing a poor job of reaching the world or the Christians are.
|Muslims pray formally five times|
each day. What if Christians were
as consistent in their practice?
As I consider those of other faith traditions, I've met some who are really devout and some who are slackers and some who identify with their faith in name only. So this is pretty similar to the Christians I've encountered.
If I believe that God is trying to reach these people and they are praying to God from a different faith tradition, do I believe that God hears their prayers?
I’m hesitant to declare "no" more so for the limitation it places on the infinite God rather than on my own strict adherence to this verse. As I explore the Gospel, I find that there are more mysterious understandings such as John 10:16 where Jesus states, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
My own understanding of Christology has grown rather generous.
As I see non-Christians who are devout in their own faith and seeking the same fruits of the Spirit in their lives (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), I may see Christ in them. They would not declare this for themselves but I would have no problem seeing through the eyes of faith to declare this on their behalf.
It reminds me that Jesus talked about being the Way. A way is more than just assent to a set of doctrines or beliefs. A way is more than just declaring affirmation to a litmus test of orthodoxy. A way requires that we follow through with our actions. If Jesus is our way, we begin to take on his own characteristics. As we study Jesus, we see that he was more generous in his day concerning those who would be thought to be in relationship with God.
And so, if I follow Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, I must begin to adopt this generosity of spirit as I encounter my neighbors. Rather than see their lack, where do I see Christ already at work in their lives?
I think this begins to turn the conversation and it becomes more profitable for us all.