566) An Open Door (part two)

     (…continued)  There are other similar verses.  In John chapter 14 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”  In Acts 4:12 Peter says of Jesus, “Salvation is found no where else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  And in John 10 Jesus condemns those thieves and robbers who try to get into his fold by any other way than through him.  Jesus is the door, the way to God.

     You can take such language in a number of ways.  To some, this may sound arrogant, exclusive of others, and narrow-minded.  As Christians, we do believe that Jesus is the only way to God, and we believe that because that is what Jesus himself said.  And the proper way to believe that is with a great deal of humility.  That is, if we really understand and believe what the Bible says about our own sinfulness, then we cannot imagine that people like us would have any other way to God except through Jesus.  So to recite such verses that say Jesus is THE DOOR to heaven, is not to brag to others saying, “See, we are right and you are wrong.”  Rather, it is to say, “I am so much in the wrong before God that only in Jesus do I have any hope of being saved.”

     Someone might say, “Who do you Christians think you are?  Are the only ones who know anything God?”  Our response would have to be, “I think I am what the Bible says I am– a lost sinner, one who is alone and without hope, except that Jesus died for me and says that I can belong to him.”  Is that arrogant to believe that we are sinners, lost and without a leg to stand on before God, and unable to come to God on our own?  When as Christians we tell people about Jesus, we are not saying that we are smart and good, and that everyone else is dumb and wicked.  The message is that we and everyone else are all alike in the most important way; we are all sinners standing in need of God’s freely given grace, offered to us all in Christ Jesus.  And the door is wide open to everyone.

     Someone might say, “Why do I need Jesus?  I’ll be okay in the afterlife, I’ll get in without Jesus?”  But then the question is, “Get in where?”  Who else, besides Jesus, has offered such a gift of eternal life, and then backed up the promise with his own resurrection from the dead?  What other door is there?  Who else has demonstrated such power over death?  And if such power over death is to be found only in Jesus, we should be happy to accept His invitation.

     Martin Luther said that to tell another person about Jesus is not an act of superiority or arrogance, but of humble love and concern, like one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.  

     I have many happy memories of friendly conversations around that big table at our neighbor’s house years ago.  It was such a welcoming place.  The door was always open.  And that is the wonderful image of the welcome that is always there for us in Jesus.  “I am the door,” he said, “You can come in by me.  The door is always open to everyone.”

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John 14:5-6  —  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

Acts 4:12  —  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

John 6:67-68  —  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

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THE ANCIENT JESUS PRAYER:  

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner.