May 17, 2014

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Easter 5 Readings)

 This claim to absolute truth was made Two Thousand years ago. Every moment of every day we make choices between this claim and what other voices around us say. Other voices question the truth of this claim by presenting good works, secularism, multi-culturalism and religious pluralism as alternative ways. There is a real conflict between respecting the right of other people to believe in these other ways; and our Baptismal promise to proclaim Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. The cost of silence is our failure to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and the proclamation that other ways are valid. On the surface our silence appears loving. In reality it is unloving. By not proclaiming the Good News of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus we fail to love our neighbors enough to share the Good News and abandon them to ignorance and spiritual death.

 1. Jesus claimed to be" the way" (John 14.6)
In fact the early Christians were known as the people of the Way. What do we mean by "the Way"? It is a short version of way to salvation through belief in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Christians believe their way to salvation or eternal spiritual life is through Jesus Christ. Last Sunday we talked about Jesus being like a gate that people had to go through in order to be saved or to receive eternal spiritual life.

  • All of us are tempted by our human weaknesses and do things that are acts of rebellion against God
  • We break the Covenant of the Ten Commandments when we rebel and fail to love God and our neighbor
  • We call these rebellious acts sins.
  • Sins – Anger, Pride, Jealous, Gluttony etc. pollute our soul
  • God is holy so sin pollutes us and separates us from God
  • Holy Spirit cannot come and live in us and guide us in life.
  • Polluted souls cannot go to heaven and be near a holy God
  • Polluted souls either go to Purgatory where they are somehow purged of sin or Hell because they are forever separated from God.
  • Good News of the Way of Jesus is that there is a way to cleanse our soul through belief in the process of self-examination, repentance, confession, absolution and acceptance of forgiveness.
  • The Way is through trust in the Cross of Jesus.
  • Salvation by Faith means we believe that Jesus died on the Cross for us personally.
  • Mystery of grace is that God accepts our repentance and personal faith in the saving power of Jesus death, as moving and transferring our guilt back in time to Jesus on the Cross where Jesus died to pay for our sins
  • This Way of forgiveness is the most amazing and hard to believe thing about Christianity. It has to be tried and personally experienced.
  • The way of Jesus is exclusive – He taught that this was the only way to eternal spiritual life with God in Heaven
  • Jesus did not teach that you can earn your way into heaven by being a good person, being Baptized or going to church
  • Our best response to other ways is to simply repeat that this Way of faith in Jesus as our personal Saviour is what Jesus actually taught
  • The Way means the only way – which is different than “A way” which implies alternatives
2. Jesus is the truth
We are living in a time period called "Post-modernism". One of the major characteristics of this time is the rejection of authority and particularly absolute religious truth. Absolute truth is the idea that something is true for everyone. Our Liberal age has bought into the lie that “Prime Directive” is to include and not offend those who are different. This is a Humanistic value that opposes historic Christian teaching and the authority of the Bible. The consequence is that people are pushed into the new situation of saying that something can be true for you but not true for me.

  • Example - what is true for a Christian may not be true for a Moslem.
  • Not logical, but it is very politically correct.
  • Rude or even abusive, to say that what the other person believes to be true is not true.
  • We can only say that Jesus is the truth for me.
  • Can still tell our story and explain why we believe Jesus is the truth
 3. Jesus is the Life
The first part of the Gospel Reading (John 14.1-14) is always read as the priest follows the casket into a funeral service. We are gathered to celebrate a life and hopefully the entrance of the deceased into eternal spiritual life in heaven. 1 Peter 2.5 reminds us that in this life we are being "   built into a spiritual house…" that is "holy". Holy means purified, set apart and dedicated to God.

  • Jesus is the one who helps us purify our spiritual life and give us joy.
  • Jesus is the one who died so we could have this way of purification through self-examination, repentance, confession, and absolution.
  • Holy Spirit of Jesus comes to us as spiritual guide and healer to help us live a life of joy and eventually go where He has gone
The challenge of this life is to believe Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life that is worth living. Our faith is tested each day as we chose between the way that Jesus proclaimed and the ways that others proclaim. This struggle for truth, forgiveness and right relationship with God is how we develop and grow in our spiritual life.

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