When Bill was at the hairdressers the conversation finally turned to religion.
‘I don’t believe in God.’ “Why do you say that?” asked Bill.
“Well, you just have to go out in the street and look. Tell me Bill, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? So much suffering and pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow those things.”
Bill thought for a moment, but didn’t reply because he couldn’t think of a good reply and didn’t want to start an argument. The hairdresser finished and Bill left the shop.
How often has that happened to us, that we’ve got into a conversation about our faith and not spoken up because we couldn’t think of the right thing to say
Our reading from John today ends with the line “If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Really, but what about the well-known Bible saying “God helps those who help themselves.” Well firstly that is not from the Bible and secondly the Bible says that God helps the helpless. He helps the despairing, the feeling lonely and discouraged, In a word he helps those who ask him for help.
And asking him is the only way, as it says in today’s reading
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Notice the definite article “the.” Jesus doesn’t leave any doubt, He is not ‘A’ way He is the one and only way.
Seriously, if Jesus was just one of many possible ways, it would be no surprise that Christians aren’t sharing their faith. Why bother?
But Jesus is not only saying He’s the way to heaven, He’s also saying He’s the only way, that you can’t get there any other way. Not by being good. by being religious. by being sincere
Jesus doesn’t merely point the way, He is the Way. Jesus does not just teach us truth, He is the Truth. He does not represent one avenue to life, He is the Life, the way.
But as Christians how do we know?
Jesus told us! He claimed to be God. No one else has claimed this.
No one has pulled off the miracles of Jesus.
No one has led the life he led. Jesus never sinned. He never withdrew or modified any statement He ever made. He never apologized. He never needed to ask anyone to pray for Him.
Jesus came do die. The mission of Jesus was to die on the cross for humankind. Jesus was the ultimate example of a selfless, sacrificial servant leader.
And when he rose from the dead he came back to tell his disciples and get them to tell everyone else.
It is easy to agree with what I have said so far but as Christians our challenge is not in believing these facts about Jesus, our challenge is telling this message in a culture that rejects these views.
A couple of things can help us.
Remember we are affirming Jesus’ own claims about Himself. We want to tell others about the necessity of faith in Christ. We want to share our joy in him. But we need to understand and accept that when people disagree with us, when they want to argue with us we should not take it personally. We are the medium not the message. We must gently insist, “Your argument is with Jesus and the Bible, not me”.
We just deliver the message. We don’t write the message we simply deliver it.”
We must refuse to be intimidated. Christianity has been given a very bad press. It seems to be alright for other religions and even atheists to claim their view is the right one. Often it seems only Christianity is persecuted for its “intolerance.” Many Christians are bothered by this, but this is one of the reasons we know that Christianity is true.
So if jesus is the way and the only way how do we get on the way.
Jesus doesn’t help those who help themselves he helps those who ask him to help them. So how do we get on the way.
Going back to our hairdressing story just after he left Bill saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.
Bill turned back and entered the shop and said to the hairdresser:
You know what? Barbers don’t exist.”
“How can you say that?’ asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!”
“No!” Bill said ‘Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.”
“Ah, but barbers DO exist! That’s just what happens when people do not come to me.”
“Exactly!’ said Bill!