This is Session 9 of Focus on the Family’s “Who Is Jesus?” study.
- Who Is Jesus, Session 8: The God Claim, Part 2
- Who Is Jesus? Session 7: The God Claim (Part 1)
- Who Is Jesus? Session 6: The Resurrection
The big question is, “Did Jesus claim to be God.” The hard question is, “Is Jesus the Only Way?”
Answers to “Quote/Unquote” Section (page 84)
Q1: Is Jesus the only way? You may end up asking this question more than anyone else.
Q2: Reality is our best friend. We live in a very “one-way” world.
Q3: If I’m a follower of Jesus, I’m going to say what He said.
Q4: A lot of people will try to make you the problem; you’re the one who’s arrogant.
Q5: Jesus also declared that any other way was false.
Q6: We struggle with exclusivity because we think too little of Jesus.
Q7: A monolithic god would be the eternal Alone One.
Q8: There is no middle ground with Jesus.
Exlusivity, intolerance, bigotry, arrogance, narrow-mindedness are all words that are associated with the claim that Jesus is the only way. We shouldn’t be surprised to hear things such as:
How do we deal with the tough question?
- By realizing that exclusivity makes logical sense. We live in a “one-way” world. There aren’t “many paths” to making a $100 bill, for example, and a gallon of gasoline isn’t a “relative concept.” And if the answers to the question, “How has God revealed Himself to humanity?” or “What does it take to have a relationship with God?” result in contradictory answers, it isn’t logical to say that both of them are right.
- By acknowledging that humans didn’t make Christianity exclusive… Jesus did. You cannot say you are a follower of Jesus, but that there are many paths to God, when the Jesus you claim to follow said that there is only one path.
Anyone who was merely a man who said the sorts of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher…
- Mark 8:38
- Luke 14:26; 22:29
- John 5:39; 8:16,28,54,56; 14:6,7,9,21; 15:16,23; 17:15
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
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.”
“We struggle with exclusivity because we think too little of Jesus and what He did.”
How else might we satisfy the wrath of a holy God?
- By prayer and asking forgiveness? If so, why did Jesus have to die?
Answering the objections:
Objection: There can’t just be one way to relate to God.
Response: Tell me what you mean by relating to God. For Christians, the key question is, “How do you satisfy the wrath of a holy God?” And if there are multiple answers to that question, then the death of Jesus on the cross was unnecessary and cruel.
Objection: All religions lead to the same place.
Response: Tell me about that place.
Objection: All religions are basically just different names for the same God.
Response: Tell me about that God.
Objection: Each religion sees part of a spiritual truth, but none of them can see the whole truth.” (The blind men and the elephant story)
Response: What is that whole truth? Can it be known?
Objection: There can’t only be one absolute way.
Response: Why not? Aren’t there plenty of examples of absolutes in the universe? Why do you have a problem with an absolute spiritual reality?
The higher your view of Jesus, the more exclusivity makes sense. The lower your view of Jesus, the less it makes sense.
- Logic and reality are our allies.
- You are not the author of the exclusive claims of Jesus.
- Remember C.S. Lewis’s “liar/lunatic/Lord” argument (and add “legend” to it).
- If Jesus is not the only way, then the reality of the crucifixion destroys belief in a good God (Why did Jesus have to die if there could be many ways to a right relationship to God?).
On the video, Tackett plays a clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show. Here is the clip he uses. This is poor quality, but it’s the same clip:
Bonus: What about the innocent guy in the jungle of Africa who’s never heard the name of Jesus? Here is David Platt’s response. If you want to skip directly to the “innocent person in Africa” part, go to the 4:10 mark.
Next Week: Handling the Objections