On one occasion in the Gospels, Jesus was explaining to the disciples that although he was going to leave them (returning to heaven) He would come again. This was difficult for the disciples to understand! Thomas then asked Jesus: “How can we know the way?” Jesus gave the famous response to this all important question: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).
That kind of statement claiming that Jesus is the only way to God upsets some people. Followers of Jesus are accused of being bigoted, narrow-minded, and intolerant. I understand that response, but we must consider who is making the claim. Central to the Christian faith, is the strong conviction that Jesus is not just a prophet or a powerful teacher or even a miracle worker, He is God.
The Russian novelist, Dostoyevsky, said of Jesus, “Not only is there no one else like Him, but there could never be anyone like Him.” The evidence of history, and the claim of His followers, is that there is none like Jesus. He is the central and unique figure of human history.
Jesus, the Christ, entered the world as no one has ever entered it. He was born of a human mother, but had no human father, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The virgin birth of Jesus was a unique act of the Holy Spirit achieving the beginning of the human life of the eternal Son of God. So Jesus entered the world as no one else has ever entered it.
Also He lived a unique life. Unless we are terribly self-deceived, we all acknowledge that we fail. We have difficulty living up to our own standards, far less the standards of a holy God. But because of His unique conception, Jesus enters the world guiltless of any sin. He is without flaw or blemish or defect in any way. While He taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses”, He never Himself prayed that prayer as He never sinned. Even His critics like the Roman judge, Pontius Pilate, had to say of Jesus: “I find no guilt in Him.” So the sinlessness of Jesus makes Him unique.
Also there is none like Jesus because He had a unique death. Jesus is best remembered by the means of His death. Death on a cross. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Gospel writers, write a great deal about the events leading to and surrounding the death of Jesus. His death was central to His life. He was given the name Jesus for He would save His people from their sins. His death was planned from all of eternity by a God who loves us so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus, for our salvation. So Jesus voluntarily laid down His life for us. Because He was sinless He didn’t die for His own sins, but bore our sin as our Savior.
At Easter we celebrated that not only did Jesus enter the world in a unique way, He left the world like no one else as He rose from the dead. This means that Jesus who is God is alive! He calls on us to turn from our sin, and personally receive Him as our Savior and Lord.
So when followers of Jesus say that He is the only way of salvation we are not expressing our personal opinion, but declaring what the Holy Scriptures teach about the unique Jesus. There is none like Him nor will there ever be anyone like Him.