Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 65:5-8.
Read: John 14:1-14 (NLT). As you read the New Living Translation, note 1-3 insights/questions.
Reflect: N T Wright in his commentary John for everyone, Vol 2, pp 59-60 suggests that we have been the ones to destroy this message and we need to recover it.
Within the Western world of the last two centuries or so, this saying of Jesus has become one of the most controversial. ‘I am the way and the truth and the life!’ How dare he, people have asked. How dare John, or the church, or anyone else, put such words into anyone’s mouth? Isn’t this the height of arrogance, to imagine that Jesus or anyone else was the only way? Don’t we now know that this attitude has done untold damage around the world, as Jesus’ followers have insisted that everyone else should give up their own ways of life and follow his instead? I know people, professing Christians, for whom it seems that their central article of faith is their rejection of this idea of Jesus’ uniqueness….The trouble with this is that it doesn’t work. If you dethrone Jesus, you enthrone something, or someone, else instead. The belief that ‘all religions are really the same’ sounds nice and democratic – though the study of religions quickly shows that it isn’t true. What you are really saying if you claim that they’re all the same is that none of them are more than distant echoes, distorted images, of reality. You’re saying that ‘reality’, God, ‘the divine’, is remote and unknowable, and that neither Jesus nor Buddha nor Moses nor Krishna gives us direct access to it. They all provide a way towards the foothills of the mountain, not the way to the summit….The real answer is that, though of course it’s true that many Christians and churches have been arrogant in the way they have presented the gospel, the whole setting of this passage shows that such arrogance is a denial of the very truth it’s claiming to present. The truth, the life, through which we know and find the way, is Jesus himself: the Jesus who washed the disciples’ feet and told them to copy his example, the Jesus who was on his way to give his life as the shepherd for the sheep. Was that arrogant? Was that self-serving? Only when the church recovers the nerve to follow Jesus in his own mission and vocation, I suspect, will it be able to recover its nerve fully in making the claim of verse 6.
Respond: Pray for wisdom.
Research: Compare Islam. Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity - why would Christianity be your choice?