A little over five years ago, my eldest entered junior high. Because she decided to play sports and I wanted to support her in her athletic endeavors, I began traveling to places I’d never been before. Dexter. Cedar Vale. Burden. Sedan. Kiowa.
Since I didn’t even know some of these places existed until I was called upon to go there for a volleyball match, I would pull out a map and find out where I was going and how to get there. I’d study the highways I needed to follow and commit them, as best I could, to memory. I didn’t want to be looking at a map while careening down the road at 65mph. It’s not especially safe to do so.
I usually had no problem whatsoever finding the town in question, but finding the school buildings was another thing. I’d pass the city limits sign and begin wondering where in the world I needed to turn next. Was the school north or south of the highway? Was it east or west of Main? Was it straight ahead? Had I passed it? Was this the right town?
I hate being lost. It makes me feel all jittery inside. So if I didn’t see the school right off, I committed the cardinal sin against my manhood. I’m not ashamed to admit it: I stopped and asked directions of a local, someone who’d likely been to the school. Doing so saved me time, got me where I was wanted to be in the most efficient manner.
That was five years ago. Now I’m the seasoned veteran. I’ve been there, done that. Most places I’ve been to multiple times. Most seasons, with both junior high and high school athletes now, I travel to the same places more than once. So now I’m the one telling the newbies how to get to the schools in our league for ball games.
Dexter is west from the highway. Just turn right onto the road at the first intersection and follow it around all the twists and turns. Cedar Vale High School gym is to the east of the run down convenience store at the west edge of town. The parking lot is on the north side of the building. Central of Burden is three blocks north of 160. Turn on the street before Main. In Sedan, turn left when the highway turns right part way through town. It’s not far north to the high school. Oh, and Kiowa’s right on the highway. You can’t miss it.
It’s always best to ask someone who knows how to get to where you’re going the way to get there, isn’t it? If your direction-giver has been to where you’re wanting to go, it’s that much better. Someone who’s never been there is just as much in the dark as you are. They might give suggestions based on what little they know, but their uninformed ideas are just as likely as not to set you adrift.
Being lost isn’t pleasant in any circumstances, but even less so when you are forever lost. That’s why Jesus came from Heaven to Earth. As the song has it: he came to show the way. He’d been there. He was (and still is) the best person to get directions to Heaven from.
And what did he say about the way there? Quite a lot really, but one of the better known things he said is really quite amazing. Listen to his words as John records them.
In John 14:6 Jesus speaks. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)
Where is the Father? He’s our Father in Heaven, right? So the way to the Father and the way to Heaven are one in the same. And the way is Jesus. Jesus is the way to Heaven. There is no other way.
Contrary to popular opinion, all paths do not lead to God. All religions are not basically the same. One points you toward Jesus, the way to the Father. All others point you away from the Savior.
Listen to me. No one gets eternal life unless they come to the Father through Jesus. If you don’t go through Jesus, you will be lost for eternity. I don’t think I’m oversimplifying the message here. I’m not overstating the truth, am I?
“I am the way and the truth and the life,” means Jesus is the way to Heaven, doesn’t it? “No one comes to the Father except through me,” means there’s no other way, right? It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? I’m not reading anything into his words, am I? You must come to God through Jesus! There are no other paths.
Most people miss the way to Heaven. Jesus said this would be true. Listen to what he says.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 6:13-14, NIV)
Why do so many miss the way? Why do they reject Jesus? Do you know? It’s because they do not want to follow God’s instructions. They’d rather go their own way even if that way leads to death. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.
So what does God say to the lost, the dying, those living in darkness?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:16-21, NIV)
Jesus cries out to everyone who will hear his voice: Believe on me! Do not die in your sin! Leave the darkness behind! Come into the light! Receive eternal life!
Those are the words of God to you. They are the words of the One who came from Heaven to be the way to the Father. They are his instructions to all who want salvation.
Will you obey? All who believe on Jesus receive the gift of eternal life. All who trust him escape the death in Hell they deserve.
Listen to Jesus again. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV)
Are you ready to come to the Father? You must believe. Will you?
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