A Fire Is Coming
It’s 10:39 am. Seven year old Liam and his four year old sister Emma are out on the back deck with their mom and dad, Jan and Bob. They’re enjoying a late breakfast outside because it’s a beautiful sunny morning. The temperature is in the high 70s and the view from their deck on the Southwest side of the mountain in Southern Oregon is magnificent. Suddenly there’s a knock on their door and a firefighter full of urgency asks them to evacuate.
“Why?” they ask.
“A fire is coming,” the firefighter says.
“It’s more than a mile away now, but it will be here this afternoon,” the firefighter explains.
“Isn’t there another way?”
A few blog posts ago we explored how the truth acts upon us. (see previous post The Truth) In our example today the truth is about to act upon the family who lives on the side of the mountain. Even though, as the firefighter knows, there’s a fire more than a mile below Bob’s house, right now the temperature is in the 70s, the humidity is 40%, the wind is light out of the East, and the sun is shining down from the Southeast. At this moment the fire doesn’t seem to pose much of a threat.
But this afternoon the temperature will rise to 100, the humidity will drop to 9%, the sun will beat down directly onto that Southwest aspect slope, and the wind will blow out of the Southwest at 15-25 mph. And the truth will act upon the family living in that beautiful mountainside home, unless they make the right decision. I know how this firefighter feels. When I was a firefighter I didn’t like evacuating people. I didn’t like asking them to leave their house and property while the fire marched toward them. The firefighter wishes there was another way, but he knows this is the only way. They have to act now while they still can or Liam, Emma, Jan, and Bob will die. That’s the truth.
The Most Loving, Caring, Compassionate Words
The truth Jesus states in John 14:6 is “No one comes to the Father except through me.” When I was still an atheistic leaning agnostic digging around to find the truth, I wasn’t looking for a religion that said there’s only one way. I wasn’t even looking for a religion. I was just looking for the truth. What happened was, as a result of my research, I became convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. After that happened, his words took on new meaning. If I say there’s only one way, that’s one thing. But if the Son of God says he’s the only way . . .
And here’s something else. If there is another way, why would God allow his Son Jesus to endure all the brutality he suffered. They beat him while he was blindfolded, they mocked him and spit upon him, they pulled out his beard, they flogged him, they put a crown of thorns on his head, he carried the horizontal part of his own cross (the weight of a railroad tie) part way to the place of his crucifixion, and then finally they nailed him to the cross where he died. Brutal torture followed by a brutal death.
Is there another way?
If there’s another way, why would God choose this way?
To me it doesn’t make sense that He would.
If there is no other way to save the family living on the mountainside, then the most loving, caring, compassionate words that firefighter can possibly say to Bob’s family are: “There’s only one way I can save you. You have to act now, and leave.” Because the firefighter wants Liam, Emma, Jan, and Bob to live.
I believe it’s the same for Jesus. God doesn’t want heaven without you. He loves you. And He wants you to live, with Him, for eternity. So even though it meant the worst torture and death imaginable for His Son, He provided the way.
Jesus said the most loving, caring, compassionate words he could possibly say:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus Christ, John 14:6