Archive for May 20th, 2020

John 14:6 NKJV - And Jesus said to Him, "I am the way", the ...

Introduction: In the solid Lutheran Study Bible, published by Concordia Publishing House, on the page opposite of John 14 is the article below. John 14 has the famous verse 6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. This verse is also infamous because of the charge of exclusivity leveled against it in this supposedly “inclusive age”. Many people bristle at our Lord’s teaching that,  “No one comes to the Father except through me”.  Again, too controversial especially in front of the world.  As when the Episcopal priest read the first verses of today’s Gospel at President Ford’s funeral, the priest did not read the words, “No one comes to the Father but by Me.”.  He then said the usual words, The Gospel  of the Lord. No it was not the full Word of God. The truth is, yes, this verse is exclusive…and inclusive. This may be the reason the Lutheran Study Bible included this article near this text. May the Lord edify you in this commentary on His Word.

When John introduces the events of Maundy Thursday evening, he tells us that Jesus loved ‘*His own who were in the world” (John 13:1). John clearly sees two groups of people in the world: those who belong to Jesus and the rest of humanity. The same distinction appears throughout the record of Jesus’ comments and prayer that evening. For example, in 15:19, Jesus remarks that the world (unbelieving humanity) hates His disciples, just as it hates Him. He states that the world would love them as its own if they had their origin and values from the world. In the High Priestly Prayer (ch.17), Jesus identifies His followers as those whom the Father has given to Him “out of the world” (17:6).

Does this mean that God loved only those who believed in Jesus and hated the rest of humanity? By no means! Even though in John’s Gospel “the world’ and ‘the ruler of this world” designate God’s human and demonic enemies (cf 12:31; 14:17, 30; 15:18-19), God loved the world so much that He willingly paid the cost of salvation and gave His only-begotten Son (3:16). Jesus did not come primarily to judge the world but to save it (12:47; cf 3:17). For this reason, Jesus established His Church, that the Gospel might go into all parts of the woirld for the purpose of salvation (17:21).

Exclusively through Christ

To the ancient peoples, the gods acted much like modern organized crime. You did your religious duty to keep them off your back and out of your lives (like a protection racket) or to entice them to do you a favor. Judaism’s message to the world that there is one and only one God (Dt. 6:4) ran counter to religious thought across the world. Christianity struggled alongside Judaism because it proclaimed a similar message: The God who reveals Himself in the Holy Scriptures is the only real God in all the world.

But Christianity went further. This one God has provided one and only one way of salvation throughout the ages. Only by trusting in the living God can any human being receive salvation (a point Paul makes forcefully in Rm 3:27-31). Not all religions lead to the true God. In fact, Jesus makes the  claim that He and only He can lead us to God. “I am the way, and the and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6)

Church teachers sometimes call this the “scandal of particularity”.  In the original language of the New Testament, the word scandal refers to the trigger of a fatal trap. Particularity means “uniqueness,” a claim to being the only thing of its kind in the world. Christians went out into the world with the scandalous message that Jesus saves people from their sins. They did not preach that Jesus was a way of salvation or that He was one option among many. Only Jesus, true God and true man, could lead people to the love of God the Father. Outside of faith in Jesus, no one would have love, grace, and forgiveness.

Apart from a personal faith in Jesus, no one in all the world throughout all history could be saved. This created a stumbling block for early Christians because it meant they could not worship the gods of their neighbors. They could not worship Caesar and therefore were labeled atheists by neighbors. Even some of their Jewish brothers and Sisters persecuted killed them, thinking God wanted them to eradicate Christians.

Inclusive in Christ

What does this mean for ordinary Christians? It means that we have the most important mission on earth. We share the Good News Christ with the world. We have the only cure for the eternal illness that infects every human being on the face of our planet. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can any human being in any place on earth receive love, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. We have the Great Commission to  teach all nations, a matter of eternal life and death.

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