“Truth is One, paths are many” -Mahatma Gandhi
”Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in Possibility.” -Oprah Winfrey
”I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No One Comes to the Father except through Me.” -Jesus
With so many diverse paths in the world, how do we know what is true? How do we answer the biggest questions in life: “Who am I? What was I made for? What does living really mean?” Some, like Mahatma Gandhi say that truth is one, but that there are many paths to it. Others, like Oprah, say that the “right” to choose whatever path we want in life is what is sacred. On this topic of what the true path of life is, what does Jesus have to say? But more importantly, why should I believe him compared to anyone else? What’s so special about Jesus? His answer to where the true path of life is may surprise you but at the same time, give you a window into the uniqueness of who he claimed to be and what he came to do.
On the evening in which he would be crucified, Jesus ate with his disciples and comforted them about what was to take place saying: “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also”…Thomas (one of his disciples) said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:3,5-6)
What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that he does not merely point to truth but is the truth, that he does not point to a way but is the way, that he does not point to life but is the life himself. He is saying you can’t make sense of truth, the way, or life without him because he is the embodiment of all these three. Its one thing for someone to point to a road to drive on, its another thing for someone to say they are the road. What Jesus here is claiming is that He is embodiment of ultimate reality, that he is God, and that because He is God, all truth claims are to be measured by Him. Mohammed, Buddha, Ghandi, indeed all the religious teachers never claimed such a thing. Such a claim would have been considered the highest of all crimes. But Jesus makes the most outrageous claim about himself unless of course, its true. The question then is this: Is Jesus who He said he is?
In 2005, French Journalist Michka Assayas interviewed Bono, celebrity activist and U2 lead vocalist. Knowing that Bono has been influenced by Jesus, Assayas brought up this topic of Jesus’ identity with Bono, questioning whether Jesus’ identity has gotten out of hand, that surely it couldn’t be true that Jesus is more than just a teacher or a prophet. In turn Bono challenges many of our deeply held assumptions about Jesus:
Michka Assayas: Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But “Son of God”, isn’t that farfetched?
Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take….And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was, the Messiah, or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson…The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched.
Is a man who has as Bono says “changed and turned the entire course of civilization for over half the globe” a nutcase? Or is there more to this man than we’ve assumed?