by James S, Perth Australia.
We hear it all the time…
“How can you be so sure that Jesus is the only way? How about Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists? Are you saying that they are all wrong? Why is Jesus the only way? You’re taking a risk putting all your eggs in one basket, aren’t you?”
I have been doing evangelism on the streets in Perth for a number of years and I am consistently asked these questions. I have concluded that this is one of the biggest blockages for people to recognise that Jesus is God and to decide to follow Him.
As Christians, we know that Jesus is the only way. We can all quote many bible verses to explain this. However there are people that don’t believe that the Bible is true, and therefore won’t necessarily accept “The Bible says…” as satisfactory explanation. So what we need to do is to learn how to explain that Jesus is the only way without using the Bible.
I have had to really seek God to develop an answer to these questions and work out how to explain it. I know am not done gaining understanding and learning ways to communicate it. What follows are some of my own revelations, things I believe God has shown me. They have helped in a number of different conversations.
Before we get onto the some of the explanations, there are a couple key things we need to remember. Firstly we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is one who ultimately brings the revelation of Jesus. He will give us the words to say. Our job is to listen to His voice and obey. And with this, we need to remember that our aim is not just simply to prove that Jesus is the only way, but that the people we talk to would encounter Jesus and give their life to Him. This happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.
Secondly, we should be discerning if there is a question behind the question. Have they been hurt by the church in someway? Or have they been disappointed by God in someway? Do they have some sort of resentment toward God, the Church or Christians? Sometimes it is out of hurt and resentment people ask “is Jesus the only way?”. They ask this question as a way of attacking something that they have been hurt by. So often the thing that is going to really bring breakthrough in their life is not the answer to the question itself, but rather you representing God to them, loving them and giving them value. If you sense this, my suggestion is not to totally avoid answering their question about Jesus, but to focus more on what has happened in their life.
One more thing to keep in the back of your mind is that people may understand that if Jesus is the only way then they will have to change something in their life, they don’t want to change. An area of sin perhaps that they know is wrong but they really like it and don’t want to stop. This is not something we can necessarily can say to the person we are talking to but it is good to be aware of.
Alright onto some explanations. When discussing these questions with someone we should listen to what they have to say and see where they are at with God, and then from there with the leadership of the Holy Spirit, choose the piece of explanation that would suit best. Also before “using” these explanations make sure you understand them. Don’t just memorize the paragraph and quote it, but work through the concept and really understand it for yourself. That way you will be able to communicate with a greater level of clarity. See the FIVE points below:
- Way to what? What do they think we are trying to get to? Many people think that the goal of every religion is the same; we are all trying to get to the same “god”. For most religions or philosophies their “god” is personal happiness, fulfilment or life. This is why most religions are not active in “evangelism” because they would believe if you are happy and fulfilled then it is fine no matter what you believe. Christianity differs in that our goal is Jesus and reconciliation with God, not primarily happiness. Perfect happiness, life and joy are products of this relationships but the goal is simply to be with God. God is not a means to an end, He is the end.
- It works! If you took a quick look at countries around the world, you would see that countries where biblical principles have been applied on a national level are the countries that are doing well. A great example is South Korea: in a 40 year period Korea had a massive turn around, all on the back of many people deciding to follow Jesus and putting His ways into practice in society. Koreans developed a Biblical view of the world, and applied it. Then when you look at countries where there isn’t a Biblical worldview, the result is the poverty of India, the conflict in the middle-east, the one-child policy of China, etc.. A great book that explains this in much more detail and gives lots of very clear examples is “The Book the Transforms Nations” by Loren Cunningham (Founder of Youth With A Mission)
- Power of God. “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” Mark 16:20. Jesus has given us power and authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, and to perform miracles. This is not for ourselves, and not just because He loves people and desires that all people would be healed and restored, but also to confirm that Jesus is God and that the message we have to share is real and true. Let me encourage you to pray for the sick and trust God to do miracles. When something supernatural happens in a un-believers life they will find it very hard to doubt that Jesus is truly God.
- Personal testimonies. God has done so much in your life. Sharing these things will amaze people and bring them closer to the revelation that Jesus is the only way. Stories of how you have personally encounter God; will have a big impact in a person’s life. The story of the Samaritan women (John 4), is a great example of this: she had an encounter with Jesus, went and told her entire town about it, this resulted in all of them coming out to see Jesus. They then started to believe. People can always argue against philosophy and opinions, but when you start sharing how Jesus has spoken to you personally and you have seen Him do incredible things in your life, it is hard to argue against. Jesus is different to all other religions and philosophies because He is personal and is constantly active it people’s lives.
- Jesus is the only constant. Jesus is there somehow in each of the main religions. He is a rabbi to Jews, a prophet to Muslims and a good teacher to Hindus and Buddhists. Many different philosophies would also say that he was a good teacher. Therefore if everyone one says that He is at least a good teacher, then it is probably worth while to look into what He says about Himself, have a look at what He did, and see what the people closest to Him said about Him. This is where we can start to share things from the Bible. This idea was something that helped Keith Green decide to give his life to the Lord
Jesus is the only way. He is the King and worthy of everything. He loves all people and desires that all people come back into relationship with Him. People have these questions about Jesus. Sometimes they are genuinely searching, other times they are just looking for a debate. No matter their motivation, our heart and desire needs to line up with Gods. We should come to them with Love wanting to introduce Jesus and not to win a debate.