No one comes to the Father but through Me…
In John 14:6, John has Jesus declare “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” This remark by Jesus has often been used by some Christians to declare the supremacy of their beliefs and to justify heavy-handed apologetic activities as well as the denigration of other faith traditions. Such is the way of context-free proof-texting. In context, this declaration was made in response to the disciple Thomas who, after hearing that Jesus was leaving them, asked despairingly, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” From this we can see that the primary intent of Jesus’ response is to comfort. It’s not a club, it’s solace, hope and peace.
I think this case can be made further by reading this passage in light of John’s logos Christology (Jn. 1:1-18). Here John envisions the Son as the union of Hebraic wisdom traditions and the Greek doctrine of the Logos. In other words, John sees the Son as God’s knowledge of God’s self, and the rational principle in creation. With that in mind, a more adequate reading of this passage goes something like this: “Whoever comes to the Father comes through me.” In other words, whoever lives in wisdom, reason and love has come to the father through the Son, for the Son is the Father’s wisdom personified.
From all this we have a different question now before us. The question is not, “do we believe in Jesus?”, for the meaning of this question is almost completely broken in our time; rather, the question is “have we come to the Father?” Do we live in wisdom, reason, and love? Ironically, in present times this is not the question that Christianity is asking to the culture, but the question the culture is asking to Christianity.