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Whenever I share the message of Jesus plus nothing, most frequently I get an initial response-a quote from the mouth of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” This usually comes from a person who is friendly to me and is appealing to me from what is considered to be a foundational statement from Jesus, himself. And by the way, I couldn’t agree more, but I don’t see Jesus as narrow and exclusive.
The damage that comes from seeing Jesus as narrow and exclusive fuels the sense of “we are the only ones who are right and going to heaven” and the rest of the world is wrong and going to hell. In addition to this, viewing Jesus as narrow and exclusive in this prideful way and believing that our way of thinking and believing is the only way, truth and life as well, does something that Jesus abhors.
Embracing this thinking shuts the door of the Kingdom on everyone else who is not one of us and we have become the judge on the matter. Granted this statement of Jesus seems to be quite narrow and exclusive, but it’s only narrow and exclusive if Jesus lives within the limitations of a Christian box. Since I separate Jesus from organized religion, deny that Jesus is the founder of any organized religion and reject the mission of Jesus as being to convert the world to Christianity or any organized religion, people believe I must be removing Jesus from being the way, the truth and the life.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s not that Jesus is so narrow and exclusive; Jesus is more preeminent than we have ever dreamed and he is all-inclusive. He’ll work with anyone! This brings us to SECRET #53: The follower of Jesus is all-inclusive.
In Jesus’ first seminar in Matthew 5-7 he made a radical statement with respect to his relationship with the Jewish Law and traditions. He said,“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Literally, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Laws and traditions of the Jewish culture; he came to fill it full-to bring fullness to it. It’s like the Jewish culture with its Law and traditions was like a glass-a form with some sort of structure to it. Then, Jesus came to fill up that form or glass to its fullest-to fill it full. Jesus came to bring ultimate meaning and fullness to the Jewish religious system. In other words, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life for all of the Jewish dreams and yearnings.