November 23 I Friday
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” —John 14:6
There is a popular Eastern parable that has been around for centuries, and it goes like this: A group of blind men have heard of this strange new animal called an elephant. They are brought to the animal and are asked to describe it just by touching it. One feels the leg and says, “An elephant is thick and strong like a tree trunk.” Another feels the tail and says, “No, it’s like a rope.” A third feels the elephant’s trunk and says, “An elephant is more like a snake,” while the last feels the elephant’s side and says, “I think it’s more like a wall.”
There are many different ways to think of faith, and this parable presents one of them. It argues that truth is a matter of perspective. One person believes one thing, another person another thing, and so long as each person believes with sincerity, then it is true for them. The parable is trying to teach that no one has got hold of the whole truth.
Presbyterian theologian John Hick would have agreed. He was an advocate for religious pluralism, famous for what he called a Copernican Revolution in theology. Nicolaus Copernicus was a sixteenth-century astronomer who was the first to discover that our solar system does not revolve around the earth as its fixed point but around the sun. Hicks argued that the problem with all religions is they also revolve around the wrong thing. Christianity revolves around Christ, Islam around Mohammed and Judaism around Abraham and Moses. Hick’s appeal was to get back to a central focus on a more generalized, pluralized God-awareness, of which all these other “minor figures” had only a partial perspective.
When it comes to Christianity, this is a total impossibility if we take the teachings of Jesus and the whole of Scripture seriously. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Many deem this arrogant, intolerant and therefore offensive. If Jesus had said, “I am a way to God, one perspective on truth and one means to life,” this would be far more acceptable, but Jesus spoke the truth.
As Peter dogmatically claimed of Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).Truth is exclusive. Christianity’s claim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life is not one of many good religious ideas but is describing the whole elephant as it really is, the whole truth of how we can have a relationship with God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing the truth in Your Word and in Your Son. May I come to a fuller understanding of the Truth so I might share Him with others.
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