“Jesus said “ No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What a breath-taking claim. There are about five thousand million people alive today and countless millions have lived in the past. Most of them have thought about God in one way or another, and now amongst all these teeming millions it’s being claimed that no one comes to God except through this individual Palestinian carpenter. What can this amazing statement mean?
Well, a road between two places ends or begins at either place. Which place is the beginning and which is the end depends on the way you choose to look at the map. And so I think we come to the Father in Jesus Christ not because he’s revealed to us the way by which we may go, but because Jesus is the way in which the Father comes to us. And when the Father comes to us in the human life of Jesus, it isn’t to show us how to be successful at coming to him. It isn’t to give us a few tips so that we can use this knowledge to let ourselves in to God’s presence. Because after all, Jesus came to us as a complete failure.
The Word was made flesh not to make us better informed or to teach us new secrets which will unlock heaven for us. The secret of Christianity is that it has no secret. It just asks us to accept and submit to the way and the truth and the life which is God’s. And when we ask what that might be, Christianity does not take us to some special teaching or a code of laws. It takes us to a defeated human being hanging from a cross.
The gospel teaches that human beings don’t need to strive to come to God the Father, because God the Father is taking the whole human race to himself.
There’s no wisdom, or secret or special instruction by which we come to the Father. The good news is that the Father comes to us. Christians don’t have faith in themselves; in their success or their understanding. Their faith is in the power of God, which appears as weakness. And by accepting this weakness, by living in the dark place by faith, they share in Christ’s victory.
In Jesus we don’t understand God, but we can watch God understanding himself. God’s understanding of God is that he throws himself away in love. He keeps nothing back for himself. God is love that accepts us without any conditions at all. A love that will let us be ourselves, even if we want to be his murderers.
God’s understanding of God is not that he has a special message with a special way of living to which he wants us to conform. God doesn’t appear to us as someone who wants to found a new and better religion with rules and regulations laid upon us for all time. He simply wants us to be fully human, like Jesus. To be fully human even if it kills us.
God says “I accept you as human beings, what a pity you have such difficulty in doing this yourselves, because you know ,you don’t need to pretend to be super-human. I accept you as you are.”
This was the message of Jesus. And we can be filled with it. To be in Christ, is to be filled with joy. To be filled with the Holy Spirit in such a way that the joy is sometimes too great for us to understand.
The Word made flesh was Christ crucified. But that is God’s way, and the way and the truth and the life for us is to be prepared to go into the dark with Christ. When we go into the dark with Christ, when we die with him then we live with him. And that life will one day soon show itself for what it truly is , and we shall live forever with the Father, through Christ in the joy which is the Holy Spirit.