These famous, infamous for some, words of Jesus are followed by a further claim that offends many: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” This was just as offensive to people in the Jewish and Pagan environment of Jesus’ day, as it is in the secular environment of our own. I’ve had tussles with non-Christian who get visibly angry at the exclusivity of Jesus’ claims, as if I made it up! The real Jesus would never be so close-minded and narrow, they think. Actually he would, and if you read the gospels carefully, it’s stunning how absolute are Jesus’ words about who he is and what he’s come to accomplish, and the implications for people if they don’t accept him. The Jesus of the gospels is hard core, often harsh, and uncompromising. He confounds not only his enemies, but his closest followers, and even his own family.  The New Testament knows nothing of the lovey dovey Jesus who accepts everyone just because.

Recently I had an insight about this exclusivity provided by Dr. Dennis Johnson, a professor retired from Westminster Seminary in California. He was being interviewed on White Horse Inn discussing John’s gospel, and he made a statement about how the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought that the law of Moses was “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that they could work their way to God on the basis of their obedience to it. That’s why they hated Jesus so vehemently and were able to get him crucified on a Roman cross: he, this unlearned carpenter from Nazareth, claimed to replace (in reality fulfill) their entire religion? It occurred to me that the Jewish hatred for Jesus is no different than anyone’s hatred of Jesus, in our or any day.

Those who reject Christianity because they find its exclusive claims unacceptable fail to realize they are making exclusive claims for their own worldview. While they would never put it this way, they believe their take on reality is “the way, the truth, and the life.” If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t believe it! I ask my kids, and myself, and anyone who will listen for that matter, that if Christianity isn’t true, what alternative is true? Those who dismiss Jesus Christ as worthy of their allegiance have embraced something else that explains reality for them. Even agnostics or the secular or “nones” who claim no religion at all, live as if (they believe, have faith) God is irrelevant to their existence. In fact, these believers (everyone believes, lives by faith) are so narrow-minded that they believe this life requires no ultimate explanation at all; this life is it! This life is the way, this life is the truth, this life is the life! There is nothing beyond material reality.

These exclusive claims are difficult for me to buy because they require me to believe that Jesus is not who he claimed to be. I know we live in a postmodern relativistic culture that claims there is no, as Francis Schaeffer put it, true truth, and something can be true for one person, while at the same time can be not-true for another person. I’m sorry, but any one who can think even a little bit knows that’s a bunch of bull excrement. Artistotle argued that the law of non-contradiction was a fundamental aspect to the nature of reality, and he was right: contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time. So it’s either Jesus, or something else. It’s either Jesus or Islam or atheism or Buddhism or Hinduism or whatever, or something else. Something has to be true to the nature of reality.

But only one man in all of human history claimed to be God, the Creator, come in human flesh to die for our sins, and then rise from the dead to back up his almost impossible to believe claims. There were hundreds of eyewitnesses to this historical fact. Not only this, but there were tens of thousands of others who witnessed Jesus’ many other miracles and knew of his claim to be Israel’s Messiah. So when they were told by the eyewitnesses that Jesus really did come back from the dead, it was plausible to them. This Jesus of Nazareth was actually who he said he was, the way, the truth, and the life. Luke says in Acts 1:3, that he showed himself to his followers, “and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Until somebody, anybody, can convince me something else is the way, the truth, and the life, I’m sticking with the real thing.





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