Ever see the show "MythBusters" on the Discovery Channel?
It's a wildly entertaining show starring Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Tory, Carrie, and Grant Imahara that uses the basic elements of the scientific method to test the validity of various rumors, myths, movie scenes, internet videos and news stories in popular culture.
There are two related myths floating around that I think it would be good to take a look at today and here they are: "Jesus never claimed to be God" and “all roads lead to heaven."
There's a lot of talk about God, religion, and spirituality these days, even whole aisles full of books on these subjects at your local library, popular book stores, and online. I find it interesting in today's culture that you can mention Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, and any number of other religious leaders, but the minute you bring up the name Jesus… people become polarized.
People will generally tell you they like what Jesus did. They appreciate that He stood for justice, helped the poor, elevated womanhood to its rightful place, and even raised the social consciousness of the Roman empire. It's who He is, and who He claimed to be that makes most people uncomfortable. The people who heard Him teach asked if He was the Messiah, but refused to believe what He told them, so He pointed them to the works He was doing.
"…Okay…the miracles are cool, but who are you?"
In John 10:30, He gave them the answer. "The Father and I are One." This claim to be equal with God was not a blooper, a typo, and He didn't mis-speak. On several occassions, Jesus made the claim to be God. He told His listeners in John 8:58 that He was God, and just to be sure they didn't misunderstand, He ascribes to Himself the name of the Self-Existent One: "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM." Jesus told the truth, because who He is, and what He said, cannot be separated.
Most people today don’t know or want to believe that Jesus made the claim to be God…but He did. And just in case you don't believe He meant what He said, or that people didn't take it that way, look at their reaction in John 10:31: "Once again the people picked up stones to kill Him. Jesus said, "At my Father's direction I have done many good works. For which of these are you going to stone Me?" They replied, "We're stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! And because you, a mere man, claim to be God."
People struggled with that statement then, just as they do now, and you may be one of them. But please consider this: You cannot even embrace Jesus as a good moral teacher if He’s making the claim to be God and you don’t believe it! We can’t have it both ways…and with this statement He made sure of it!
Do all roads lead to heaven?
The next part of the myth is: Do all roads lead to heaven? Are there many ways to get there or only one way? Jesus Himself said this: "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
“But that’s way too narrow!” Yep.
"How can He make that claim?"
He can make that claim because He was the only one to come and deal with the problem of WHY we’re separated from God…our sin.
“For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, “The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11, 12
“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity- the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
Buddha didn’t die for your sins… Mohammed didn’t take the penalty for our transgressions… Confucius didn’t lay down his life for yours…
Jesus Christ was the only one who dealt with the sin that separates us from God.
So Jesus claimed to be the only way, and the Scriptures say He’s the only way.
But still, Jesus asked His followers: “Who do people say that I am?” They gave various answers including John the Baptist, Elijah, or maybe one of the prophets. Then He asks them: “Who do YOU say that that I am?
Author C.S. Lewis rightly concludes that we really only have three choices, either Jesus was a liar – and if so, then He probably took it too far. He was a lunatic – completely and utterly out of His mind and not even worth listening to, or He's exactly who He claims to be - the Lord.
“Sounds good Pastor Mike, but I’ve heard some other arguments that sound good too.”
Truth is, you cannot bust a myth with an argument and this is why: If you can be talked into believing, you can be talked out of believing. You can only bust a myth through experience. I can preach or write articles all day on the importance of wearing seatbelts, but it only takes barely surviving one car crash without wearing your seatbelts and you'll be convinced.
The religious people of Jesus’ day wanted to bust the myth of what He said, but when it came to people’s experience of what He did, they couldn’t refute it, so they killed Him. And knowing man tends to walk by sight and not by faith, He gave us one more sign...one we cannot ignore, He raised Himself from the dead.
His resurrection is such an irrefutable, historic fact, that the truth of it will stand up in a court of law even today.
Myth busted! Jesus really is God.
Myth busted! There aren't many roads that lead to heaven, only one, and it leads through Jesus Christ.