Actually, He did say that, many times. So many times that it amazes me whenever somebody tells me — as I often hear — something along the lines of “But Jesus never claimed to be the only way to get to Heaven.”
I’m often tempted upon hearing those words to ask if He didn’t, why on Earth did He allow Himself to be nailed to a cross and left to die the most horrible of deaths? But that’s a topic for another post and another day.
Now, back to the question raised in the headline to this post!
Stand To Reason’s Alan Shlemon offers some quick thoughts by way of scripture and a recommendation for a useful compilation of more than 100 instances where Jesus made clear His claim to be the unique way to spend eternity in Heaven.
The verses Shlemon cites will be familiar to most anybody who has even lightly considered Jesus’s claims for Himself. There is John 14:6 where He says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Then there is Matthew 28:18-20 where He makes what is, a reasonable person will realize upon honest assessment, an amazing, comprehensive claim:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The compilation Shlemon suggests is by his colleague in Christian apologetics, Greg Koukl, called “Jesus, The Only Way.” There are 100 such verses and anybody who has pondered the question of their eternal destiny would profit from shelling out all of $2 to get their hands on Koukl’s little book.
Now, I offer one additional thought on this issue: Before this issue can be settled, it is first essential that the question of whether or not Jesus was resurrected on the third day after He was crucified be addressed.
Here’s why: If He was resurrected, everything He said about Himself must be true. If He wasn’t, then Christians who like me believe He was are in Paul’s words at I Corinthians 15: 17-19, “of all people most to be pitied” and our “faith is in vain” because we have gambled our eternal destiny on a myth, or worse, a liar or lunatic (HT: Josh McDowell).
Bottom line, then, is this: The truth or falsehood of the Resurrection is the key to the answer to every question you could ever have about Christ, including especially the one that prompted this post. And because all of your questions about Him are of crucial importance, you do well to start with the Resurrection.
Mark Tapscott is HillFaith’s editor, IT jockey, spiritual guide, chief bottle washer and overall Jack-of-All-Trades. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org