John 14:6 is a fairly widely quoted passage these days. In it, Jesus speaks these words:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Here’s a great little snippet about this verse, spoken by one of the characters in Brian McClaren’s book, A New Kind of Christian:
Too often, when we quote the verse about [Jesus] being the way, it sounds like we’re saying he’s in the way – as if people are trying to come to God and Jesus is blocking the path, saying, “Oh no, you don’t! You have to get by me first.” I really don’t think that’s what he meant when he said he was the way.
What he did mean, I think, is this: to know Jesus is also to know God. God may be inaccessible and mysterious – someone who is (apologies to Rollins here) un/knowable and un/available – but God is revealed in him.
I don’t think this was intended as a statement about other religions – an excuse to allow Christians to wag their collective hineys in the face of Bhuddists, Hindus, etc. It is simply another way of saying that, in Jesus, God becomes accesible to us.
In other words, Jesus is not a cosmic goalkeeper, blocking every shot that people take to get at God. He is (to borrow another image from John) a beacon of hope that points the way in a world that is otherwise in darkness.
What do you think? Can John 14:6 be abused, when taken out of context?