We’ve focused on what Jesus’ friends and followers said about Him. And all evidence then and now shows that His own view was and is entirely consistent with theirs. Listen to some of His radical statements. If you’ve heard them before, pretend you haven’t. Let their full impact hit you.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Wow. Jesus actually claimed He was the only way to God! And He didn’t misspeak because He kept on saying it: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:7-9).
Is Jesus really saying that no other person, religious leader or otherwise, has the ability to reveal God? “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27).
Perhaps these claims sound offensive. But let’s put them in the context of the testimony we’ve just heard. Since Jesus really is the exact image of God, He could make God known like no one else could. Since all of God’s fullness lives inside of Jesus, His words would have to contain that fullness, too. And since Jesus really has been exalted to the highest place, with a Name above all other names, no one else’s opinions or guesses or philosophies really matter all that much.
Jesus didn’t just claim to speak truth. He proclaimed He is Truth. He didn’t promise to show the way. He said He is the Way. And for God, those assertions are neither arrogant nor insane. They’re simply true!
Aren’t all religions basically the same, anyway?
I know this is an area that is confusing for some, but this is VERY important! The human mind and adrenal glands are quite powerful, and you MUST keep this in mind as you assess things. The fact that someone feels rosy-cheeked and warm all over as they sway to the music or ritual or group dynamics, and their depression is lifted by a dopamine and endorphin secretion—isn’t the REAL measurement of whether GOD is in it or not. You must surely acknowledge, if you are being unbiased and honest, that transcendental meditation, communing with spirit-guides while listening to crickets and waterfall music, a good massage or chiropractor’s session, a hypnotist’s silver watch swaying back and forth, the euphoria of “runner’s high,” or $30 worth of Ecstasy … ALL have the same reported effects as a lot of “religions.”
Historically, “overcoming depression” is accomplished by men in many ways. Religion, “the opiate of the people,” has long been used in every culture to salve the conscience and psyche. Human emotion and sentimentalism are NOT to be confused with BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY. Let’s be realistic! All world religions have “something to offer”—or there would not be so many millions of adherents to those religions, from Hare Krishna, to Voodoo, to Catholicism, to Islam, to Moonies, to New Age, to Buddhism or Taoist thought! It is a very common fallacy that all religions are really the same—all teaching the same moral principles and all talking about the same God. According to this view, you can choose your religion like a person in a cafeteria line chooses lunch—just based on personal preference or cultural comfort zone. But according to Jesus’ own words, this cannot be so. Jesus won’t consent to being an entrée choice. In Reality, He is to be the whole banquet!