“No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This phrase appears almost word for word in every translation I read. When Jesus spoke this, apparently it was very direct and not subject to interpretation. It was not spoken as a parable but as a statement of fact.
Yet this phrase is controversial, dare I say offensive to many.
If read in context, it was Jesus defining his identity to help his disciples understand his soon to occur crucifixion.
Many people read that phrase and are offended thinking it is exclusionary. They read it or have been taught that Jesus’ heart is one that says, “Choose me or I will condemn you to hell.” That sounds like a controlling, fear inducing God.
Let’s look at that phrase in the light of grace.
Jesus was about to be crucified. He knew his disciples would be distraught, confused, upset. He was explaining to them why what was about to happen was necessary.
He was about to be the ultimate sacrifice fulfilling all the requirements of the law. We no longer would need to sacrifice bulls and goats to atone for our sins. We now, through believing on him have salvation, access to the Father, peace, and the ability to do greater works than He did.
In the light of grace, His words were more like:
My crucifixion, my sacrifice, is providing a way that everyone will have unencumbered access to the Father. I am the way. I am the truth. I Am life. But I willing lay down that life so that all who choose to believe in me will have life abundantly. A life filled with the miraculous. A life where you can daily fellowship with the Father. All are welcomed to come.
That’s a loving, generous God!
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 NIV