While listening to a lecture on world religions (yes, I listen to lectures for fun) – The professor explained that God is like a profound and mysterious mountain. Different religions – Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, among others – are simply different paths up the same mountain. He claimed that each religion is different because each person has a different vantage point of this mountain. Some encounter trees, others experience rushing rivers, and others behold the beauty of animals. Same mountain, different perspectives.
Honestly, that makes a lot of sense. But… it’s wrong.
Let me explain.
I am preaching through the Gospel of John at Renovation Church. This Sunday we are looking at John 14:1-11. In this passage, Jesus makes one of his more startling, controversial, and offensive claims. In a conversation about how one can approach God, Jesus says the following, “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me.'”
Many non-Christians (such as Ghandi) see no problem with Jesus. They view Jesus as a great religious teacher or even a prophet. The problem is that if Jesus made claims like the one above, that makes him either a false teacher (because it’s a false claim) or someone much greater than a mere prophet or religious teacher.
So, does Jesus’ statement about being THE way, THE truth, and THE life mean that every other religion is completely false? Well, not exactly… Let me try to explain by way of analogy – keeping in mind that all analogies eventually fall apart if pushed too far.
I want you to imagine for a moment what it is like to have horrible eyesight (some of you do not need to imagine this, you get the pleasure of experiencing it). When you do not have your glasses on you can still see – just very faintly. Instead of seeing people or trees you simply see foggy shapes and you are unable to make out any details. This is a picture of mankind seeking God through our own means. Through experiencing nature, our intellect, and human relationships we can begin to discern that there is Something or Someone greater than us. Nevertheless, our vision is foggy and we are unable to make out any details – we only have a partial revelation.
When we come to know, treasure, and love Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives, it is like receiving a new prescription for our glasses for the first time. We are suddenly in awe at the beauty of color found in the details of our world. Instead of seeing vague shapes we see the intricate details of trees and behold the beauty found in other people’s faces. Jesus is God’s self-revelation. If we want to see God it does not begin with religious practices, we see God when we fix our eyes on Jesus through His Word.
This is the glorious picture the book of Hebrews gives us when the author says:
Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word…
In summary, Jesus is the only One through whom we can see God in all of His glory. It is only through knowing, loving, and treasuring Jesus that we can enter into a right relationship with God because Jesus is God’s full revelation. Other religions may offer remarkable truths but Jesus is THE truth and the only way to approach the Living God.
Application: If the only way to see God is to look at Jesus, we need to have a regular practicing of fixing our eyes on Jesus. The primary way that we see Jesus is by prayerfully studying the Bible. I challenge you to begin a regular habit of spending 15 – 30 minutes every single day reading the Scriptures. A good place to begin is in the Gospel of John. If you have questions about studying the Bible or Christianity in general, I’d love to connect with you. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!