12 Oct

There seems to be an increasing number of people who suggest there are many ways to know God; that Jesus is only one of those ways. In my analytical mind and in my flesh, I want to rush to correct; to state the facts; to set things straight.  Jesus makes it very clear in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  But, what if a person isn't convinced that the Bible is the final authority?  If we are called to share the truth in love, how do we respond to a statement like this?

Granted, there are often times when quoting Scripture is the very best approach.  I want to be ready with the Sword of the Spirit. I want to stand firm in truth.  But, in following the principle of love, we must be ready to share the heart of truth, not just the facts.

(Jesus) went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because He has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him.  He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Luke 4:16-21

I remember when I first read Isaiah 61, which Jesus read and fulfilled in Luke 4.  It changed everything for me.  It revealed to me the heart of God.  Jesus didn't come just to save me, so that in the end I could safely rise to a heavenly mansion.  True, He has secured my eternal future, but He has done so much more!  He came to heal my broken heart.  He came to give me freedom over sin and death. This is the truth I must share with others:  who Jesus is  and how He is transforming my life.  

Isaiah 61 continues:

"to comfort all who mourn,
   and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of His splendor.

I want to know this Jesus who has revealed the God who comforts; who crowns me with beauty; who anoints me with the oil of joy. I want to share this Jesus who makes me righteous, through His blood shed on the cross.  I want to praise Him and Him alone.  I want to live for the display of His splendor, pointing to the One who surrendered all for me.  

Although I read in Scripture that there is only one way to the Father, God has given me free will.  He has given me the option to choose whom I will follow.  I am free to follow after Siddhartha Gautama, Lao Tzu, Confucius or a host of other human philosophers.  I am free to follow great Christian mentors, such as C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer or John Wesley.  I am free to choose this denomination or that; this set of doctrine or that.  But if I want to know God and experience eternal life ("Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent" John 17:3), I will only experience the real thing by following the Way that God has so generously given: Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Even if another way were offered, why would I want anything less than God Himself entering my world to reveal His heart to me?  God said Jesus' blood is enough to cleanse me and make me whole.  If He is enough for God, He is more than enough for me.  Glory to God!

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