Jesus said…”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NRSV
The Bible comforts, confronts and confuses. It commands that we love our neighbor and pray for those who persecute us. Yet, another part of the Bible advocates war in God’s name. Used properly, the Bible is a wonderful tool for teaching us discipleship. Used improperly and it’s a dangerous tool justifying genocide, exclusivism and triumphalism.
This passage from John’s Gospel is one such scripture that is used as a hammer on those who don’t profess to be Christians. People have come to me with tears in their eyes over this passage.
“Does this mean my Aunt is going to hell?”
“Is my Jewish friend damned?”
“What about those in other cultures who didn’t have the chance to know Jesus Are they condemned to the eternal fires?”
It seems to me that this is a narrow view that misses the point. Let’s take a longer view of this.
The word, “way” is where I place the focus. What does it mean that Jesus is “The Way”?
Jesus modeled for us how to live and act as we watch the Kingdom of God come closer. He challenged us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24.) He invites us into his yoke to learn and find rest (Matthew 11:29-30.)
Maybe “The Way” of Jesus is to give more of all we are and have; to love the neighbor and pray for our enemies; to step away from judging others and gossip; to forgive again and again and again; to be servants of all.
It that’s the case, then judging who’s going to heaven and who’s going to the fiery pit takes on a new perspective. It isn’t for us to decide. That’s God’s job. If we are people of “The Way” than our job is to BE people of “The Way.” That journey surely makes us more loving and caring. It puts us in Jesus’ hands to do Jesus’ work here on earth. And it stops the judgmental attitude and the worrying about others who may not be in this fold.
Followers of “The Way” allow Jesus to lead us in new directions. Followers of “The Way” allow themselves to be transformed by the Creator.
It’s okay. Let God worry about who’s in and who’s out. Let us be God’s hands and feet in this world.
All glory and honor be to God.