It’s not easy going the right way when most people are going the wrong way. It’s even worse when you’re penalized for it. Take, for example, Mike Delcavo.
Mike was one of the 128 runners participating in a cross country race at the 1993 NCAA II Track and Field Championships. They began following the 6.2 mile course that race officials set for them.
But, as they came closer to the end, Mike Delcavo of Western State College in Colorado noticed something that didn’t look right. He was in the middle of the pack when he saw ahead that the runners in front had missed the turn.
“I was waving for them to follow me and yelling ‘This is the right way,’” he told an interviewer after the race. But they kept going anyway. Only Mike and four other runners followed the correct course.
Everybody else ended up taking a short cut which gave them the advantage of finishing sooner. What is most bizarre, however, is how the race turned out. The officials chose to allow the shortened route, that the majority of runners took, to be counted as the “official course.” As you can figure, this was a highly controversial decision. And, to his dismay, Mike officially finished 123rd.
As Christians, we want to go the right way down our path of life. But when everybody else takes the wrong turn that we know isn’t correct, we have a choice. We can either go along with them or keep on the right course, meanwhile warning the others they are going the wrong way. Ironically, it’s the majority going the wrong way, taking a short cut toward temporary gratification (unlike Moses, Hebrews 11:24-26), that the world recognizes and rewards. Is it fair? No. But are we still determined to go the right way anyway? Yes.
Now, why do we want to go the right way now matter what others think? In short, it’s because there’s only one way to go that leads to the just and truest reward. Jesus laid down this course when he said to one of his disciples, Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me,” (John 14:6). What did Jesus mean by this statement? How does it encourage us to go the right way?
He starts out declaring, “I am.” This isn’t the only time he used these words. Jesus made many “I am” claims in the Gospel of John. For example, “I am…
…the bread of life” (6:35);
…the light of the world” (8:12);
…the gate” (10:9);
…the good shepherd” (10:11);
…the resurrection and life” (11:25-26);
…the vine” (15:5)
The “I am” term is often compared to God’s self-identification to Moses as “I AM THAT I AM,” (Exodus 3:14). God is revealing that he is the self-existent and eternal God thus indicating his perfect nature as opposed to the false gods or idols other nations worshipped. This is the same one true God who is the Father of Jesus Messiah, his Anointed One, who saves us from our sins and through whom believers will receive eternal life (John 3:16). Thus, Jesus could correctly say to the scribes and Pharisees, “Therefore I said to you, that you will die in your sins; for if you believe not that I am he, you will die in your sins,” (John 8:12). Jesus was stating the fact that he is the Anointed One or Messiah of God, who came to save his people from their sins and give them eternal life in the Kingdom (John 1:29-34).
Therefore, Jesus refers to his rightful position as the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus perfectly qualifies as our Lord and Savior because he is 100% Son of God (divine) and 100% Son of man (human). He is the mediator or “go-between” between God his Father and humanity. Moreover, Jesus is the ONLY person who qualifies for this position, for “…there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved,” (Acts 8:12, New American Standard Version, NASB). So, Jesus could truthfully say, “No one comes to the Father except by me.”
There’s not a shadow of doubt that Jesus is indeed THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life. The word “THE” is definite, personal, and distinct. It leaves no doubt about who Jesus Christ is.
This is Good News for us. It is Good News because Jesus is…
The word, “way” literally means, “road, journey, path.” Jesus is the one and only Road we must take if we are to come to our heavenly Father and receive his blessings. When we are converted to Jesus through faith, repentance, and baptism, we start on a journey in Christ. We choose to take his path fully aware that it’s for a lifetime of growth and maturity. There are no short cuts or instant rewards. Our natural inclination is to take the quick and easy route and get our satisfaction now. That’s the wide way, where everyone goes. But that’s not the way of Christ. It’s not the right way. The right way is narrow; it’s where few persons dare to run. It’s the only way, however, that leads to eternal life as Jesus points out (Matthew 7:13-14).
Since Jesus is THE way, Christianity is THE only religion that we must choose for taking our journey. It’s no coincidence that before converts of Jesus were called Christians, they were originally called “men and women of the Way,” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23;22:4; 24:14, 22). Dr. Alva Huffer stated, “All other religious roads are dead-end streets.” (Systematic Theology) True, you can try to forge another course, pave another street out of another religion or cult, but it won’t be the right one to take. It will only provide a wasted, empty, temporary illusion.
The concept of “truth” includes not only as it is spoken, but in idea, reality, and sincerity. Jesus is the embodiment of truth since all truth comes through him from his Father in heaven. There can be no other truth than Jesus THE truth. In fact, when Jesus came on the scene, he did what the Law of Moses could not do–provide “grace and truth,” (John 1:17). Which leads to the truth that no other person except Jesus Christ can bring us to our goal of inheriting eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
Since the truth is that Jesus is “the way,” it stands to reason that the church is identified the same way. Interestingly, one source says, “The use of the primitive expression, the Way, seems to point to an early date for Acts. In China, Christianity has been called ‘the Jesus way’ (tao), in contrast to the Confucius and Buddha ways,” (The Acts of the Apostles, Carter and Earle). Which brings us back to the truth that since Christ is the only Way, no other religion or religious leader can give us any hope of life beyond this one (Acts 4:12). Which reminds me of this old legend:
A man became lost in his travels and wandered into a bed of quicksand. Confucius saw the man’s predicament and said, “It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this.” Next, Buddha observed the situation and said, “Let that man’s plight be a lesson to the rest of the world.” Mohammed came by and said to the sinking man, “Alas, it is the will of God.” Finally, Jesus appeared. “Take my hand, brother,” he said, “and I will save you.”
The “life” that Jesus is talking about, does not merely mean to exist. You may be able to breath, to think, to walk and talk but that’s not all there is to THE LIFE. Recall what Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10b). Jesus is the One through whom we receive the fullness of life and all of its vitality and value. It includes both the physical and spiritual benefits that only Christ Jesus can provide as God’s Son and the Savior of humanity. John records that everything God made in the beginning of creation was planned with His Son in mind. Jesus was born according to God’s Word. Thus, God’s plan took on human form in his Son. “And in it was Life; and the Life was the light of men,” (John 1:4, 14).
When we “put on Christ” at conversion, we die so to speak (Rom. 6:1-11; 13:14; Galatians 3:26-27). When we give our lives to Christ, we die to sin and revive with new life in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Only he can make us new. Only he can provide what we need to make life enjoyable and satisfying, even when life hands us disappointments, failure, pain, and grief sometimes.
We are never promised that everything in this present mortal life will be the way WE would like it. But the difference of having Jesus as THE LIFE is what we’ll receive in the Age to Come (Mark 10:17-27; Romans 8:18-23). No one else can provide us with this blessed hope, a hope that helps us endure knowing that a day will come when there will be no more sorrow or pain or death (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Titus 2:13-14; Revelation 21:4). Like First John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God, does not have the life.”
It’s the desire of believers to trust Jesus, serve him, and live for him. We want to run our race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:1) by staying on the right course that leads to the crown of life (1 Cor. 9:24-27). For, after all, Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. By following him, we are going the right way.
Here’s Pat Barrett presenting his music video, “The Way (New Horizon)” http://youtu.be/MOzsJlk8p6I
Good News to YOU!