The Way…Back up…What Way?

“Jesus himself said He was the only way.” (Shane)

What does that even mean? See this is where we start the splitting of hairs over the definitions of what Jesus means there. I am not going to argue about the Jesus part – but the ideas parts – ‘way, truth, life’.

What way? What truth? What life? Once you start asking questions like that then you see Jesus is talking about a ‘way’, also ‘truths’, and even ‘ways to life’. Now no one comes to God except by Jesus – could this also mean Jesus’ teachings – that which we do have? This is where I part with some of mainstream faith on interpretation – but I truly think this passage is refering to idea of following Jesus’ teachings as the ‘way to God’.

I just don’t feel I am on very safe ground when I say Jesus is the way but that means the way is about a certain ritual – saying a prayer, inviting Christ in, and then following the leading of the church and pastor. To me, I think Christ is saying whomever lives according to these teachings will find life, the way to God, and truth about what happens around us – and that includes anybody – even those whom never heard but are peacemakers or live by the idea ‘treat others as you want to be treated/loving their neighbors as themselves’.

I think that passage is a lot deeper than just a one liner about exclusivity…here’s another slight interpretation I picked from a Jewish idea.

If we compare to sentences this will make sense:

‘The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’. (Luke 20:37)

‘The way, (and) the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6)

Do you see a similarity there? By some weird writing calculation John is saying Jesus is either comparable to those three figures or some type of patriarch whom God speaks to exactly like them. We can go into so much deeper mystic meaning (ie: Abraham is like the way – via faith) or even deeper cultural meanings (ie: Jewish patriarchs and Jesus is the next one – the Messiah).

But the point is this interpretation has a lot of depth to it and via comparison of John’s writing – I think this path makes even more sense (since John was huge on Jewish symbolism and ideas). I don’t think I am reading to much into it – look at it and study it – it lines up with many gospel ideas.

“Actually, looking into the Greek… perhaps a better translation of that part of John 14:6 would be…I am the true and living way…”

In the Greek I believe the latter two “nouns” are to become ajectives of the first. Still notice… “I am *THE*…” that denotes a fair amount of exclusitivity hehe. And the teaching that Jesus is the true and living Way… wow… so much to glean from that, I just love it =D. Also, “truth is not about a popularity contest”. Indeed! hehe =D” (Cpt. Starfox)

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41 thoughts on “The Way…Back up…What Way?

  1. A most important part of Jn. 14:6 was left out of the analysis. “Way, truth, life” need to be kept in context with what prompted Thomas’ question and Jesus’ answer.
    fishon

  2. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus lived the Laws and Commands of His Father, He fulfilled them, He didn’t just talk about them or give mental assent to their rightness. I can know something as being true but unless I live it, it has not become truth.

    I’m surprised at you, Jason. You are always talking about living it and not just talking. That is exactly what Jesus did and when we measure all the whats of our faith by His person, we have a really good idea of how to live a godly life and have an unhindered relationship with God.

    Pam

  3. You could make the quote even more interesting. Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life. Then he says that no one comes to the Father, except by him.

    What if we make the last line, “No one comes to the Father, except by the truth?”

    Or, “No one comes to the Father, except through life?”

    The other interesting thing here is that Jesus doesn’t say, “No one goes to the Father, except by him.” He says that no one *comes* to the Father, implying that the Father is right there. Which does make sense, given that he later says that the Father is in him, and the Father that’s in Jesus is the one saying the words, and doing the actions.

    Yet he then turns around in verse 12, and says that those who believe on Jesus will do the same works that he did — the very works that proved the Father was with him — and greater works, because Jesus goes unto the Father. There, the Father is implied as elsewhere.

    But we still come down to, what did Jesus mean when he indicated the way? Is it Jesus as a person, or is it what Jesus represented? Or is it what was “housed” inside Jesus?

    I think much of it comes down to a way of “seeing.” He does state here that if you see Jesus, you see the Father. Yet the disicples kept insisting that Jesus show them the Father. It’s like they needed to see some physical person, something in boundaries. And Jesus’ concept of the Father was much bigger, in a metaphysical idea. You don’t see the Father the way you see a person, you see the Father in His representatives. You would see the Father in the Logos, because the Logos can only behave like God. So to go back to “you only come unto the Father –” the Father was always there, and always has been there. The “way” is simply a method of seeing the already realized prescence of the Father.

  4. Here’s a simplistic exercise. A person dies and they find themselves in the presence of God. They ask “Where is Jesus?” God replies, “Here I am”. That’s the only interpretation I can see of John 14:6.

  5. Jim,

    **They ask “Where is Jesus?” God replies, “Here I am”. That’s the only interpretation I can see of John 14:6.**

    What precise wording are you basing this on? Is it the “truth/life” part? Jesus seems to be making a distinction between the two, with saying trust in God always, and trust in him, and that he is shown as the way to the Father/God. He doesn’t say that he is the only way unto himself, or both. Rather, he prepares a place in that all may come unto the Father.

  6. Not much time, Societyvs, but will give a short response to your question.

    In Jn. 13:36, Peter wants to know where Jesus is going. Jesus tells him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow.” I believe this sets the foundation for the diaologue that follows.

    Jesus then goes on to talk about going to his Father’s house and preparing a place for Peter [us I believe also].

    Then Thomas gets into the conversation and says and asks, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” {Jn. 14:5}.

    But preveiously in Jn. 14:4, Jesus had told Peter, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”

    But Thomas doesn’t get it. So Jesus tells him in Jn. 14:6, “I am the way….”

    The context of the conversation is Jesus is going away, and the question is”…we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

    Easy, “I am the way…” to where I am going. And where is Jesus going? To his Father’s house {Jn. 14:2}.

    Then in Jn. 14:6b Jesus says: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is simple and not complicated at all. Jesus is going to the Father, the apostles want to go, but it is not time for them yet. They want to know the way to the place Jesus is going, so Jesus tells them. It is through him/Jesus, and no one will get to his Father’s house except through him/Jesus.
    fishon

  7. “That is exactly what Jesus did and when we measure all the whats of our faith by His person, we have a really good idea of how to live a godly life and have an unhindered relationship with God.” (Pam)

    Actually, this is where I am in almost in total agreement with you. I think Jesus showed us how to live a godly life and left us his teachings to show us the pathway to God. I think Jesus is talking about himself a lot in John 14 – but he does also talk about himself in such a way that to ‘follow him’ means to ‘follow his teachings’…John 14:15. I think a lot of the ‘believe in me’ in me talk is about that exact thing – since believing has that aspect to it – showing you believe by doing.

    “I can know something as being true but unless I live it, it has not become truth.” (Pam)

    I also agree with this statement. I think Jesus was very good with the ideas the presented and with also living them out (from the gospels). But I also think this is ‘the way’ he wants us to live – as he did – believing something than acting accordingly.

  8. “But we still come down to, what did Jesus mean when he indicated the way? Is it Jesus as a person, or is it what Jesus represented? Or is it what was “housed” inside Jesus?” (OSS)

    I think this is the exact question I am seeking the answer to also. For me, the ideas you present about the Father are very good – thanks for those insights. Here is the crux of the discussion behind ‘the way’:

    (a) When Jesus mentions he ‘is the way’ – does he mean himself as a person? This is the common theme we find in most denominational doctrines and we have to accept or confess Jesus to be on that ‘way’.

    (b) Is Jesus saying he ‘is the way’ in that what he is living and teaching is going to direct us towards the Father/God? So much so that to follow the teachings in sincerity would leave you little question you came into contact with God?

    “So to go back to “you only come unto the Father –” the Father was always there, and always has been there. The “way” is simply a method of seeing the already realized prescence of the Father.” (OSS)

    I really enjoy this perspective – it speaks to the passage on a level I think we need to hear and examine. I also believe God is everywhere – and is not contained in small enclaves in certain parts of the world – God is much bigger than that. For me, this passage symbolizes that union we can have with God – there is a way to God – there is a way to truth, and there is a way to life – and Jesus us telling us – look in the teachings (vs. 15) via the idea ‘believe me?’. But God is there and I think sometimes we see it in others and sometimes we get that sense in ourselves.

  9. “Here’s a simplistic exercise. A person dies and they find themselves in the presence of God. They ask “Where is Jesus?” God replies, “Here I am”. That’s the only interpretation I can see of John 14:6.” (Jim)

    It’s also too simple and doesn’t answer the question – what is the ‘way’? From your sentence I can only think you think the person of Jesus is the way. For me, this poses a small problem – the ritualization of that belief.

    People are told to accept and confess Jesus – usually via a prayer – then they are told they are ‘saved’. I think that is a little quick don’t you? How can you know you are saved if you are not sure from what? One can say ‘hell’ – but again we are playing with an idea that is 2 fold in depth (here and there in scope). But then if it is that easy – we really are not called upon to do much – because in the end – it all depends on the acceptance of Jesus anyways (and all the wonderful things he done); there is really little to no requirement in that system to ‘follow the teachings’ of Jesus – nor to take them all that seriously. They have been usurped by the idea of a simple confession.

    I am not against the prayer committment idea – but then I think we should re-frame the idea to be a committment to ‘follow Jesus’ and not explicitly say ‘someone is saved’ from that single point of reference (cause as I hear a lot of people say – what about the parable of the seeds and the grounds – and all the confusion?).

    To me it makes more sense to involve the full aspect of us – and not just our mouths. To ‘follow Jesus’ is much more than a simple prayer and confession idea – it about involving us on all fronts of who we are – emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually…and it’s a long process of change and shifting values. I think Jesus ‘is the way’ – the way to get to know God on a level we have never had before (I only speak for the Gentiles here). I think Jesus made this idea of God very personal and meaningful to the common person – and that resonates with a lot of us.

  10. “Jesus is going to the Father, the apostles want to go, but it is not time for them yet. They want to know the way to the place Jesus is going, so Jesus tells them. It is through him/Jesus, and no one will get to his Father’s house except through him/Jesus.” (fishon)

    I am pretty much in agreement with you here – but I think the idea of the ‘way’ is partially about the path to God (or heaven). I think there is some of this aspect in this conversation – about ‘the way’ to God. However, you also mention Jesus as ‘the way’ but do not explain what ‘the way’ fully means – only it is a pathway – via Jesus – to a destination.

    For me Jesus says one phrase quite often in John ‘believe in me’ – now it all comes down to how we see that phrase and what it is defined as. We all know quite clearly there is a difference in belief in Jesus to varying degrees – and a lot of us base this on reality but also the parable ‘seed and the sowers’ – where we see 3 types of soil that could not produce a crop with the seed they were given. So even in that – we see that belief needs to be defined more clearly – let’s say – along the lines of believing means acting accordingly to the said belief you state (ie: I will not steal from my neighbor).

    The true problem occurs when we state the belief in a person – in this case Jesus – is the belief. There is not much for us to do there but to make a confession of belief – but it requires in and of itself nothing on our part except some lip-service – because the belief is not truly requiring an action (ie: I believe in Jesus – now what?). But if we look at the parable of the seed and the sowers the idea of the ‘seed’ seems to be ‘the words of God’. I think Jesus is calling us back to that idea (see John 14:15). There we see that belief in Jesus means to follow his commandments/teachings and this leads us into the what it means to believe in Jesus (ie: lots of things to actualize in our real life scenarios).

    Do people see that the word ‘believe in me’ is the huge part of this discussion – even if Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ – it still needs to match up with verse 14:1 – ‘believe in me’ – the ideas are rather the same. For me, the answer is straight-forward – Jesus’ way is his teachings, his truth is found in his teachings (and study), and his life is found in his teachings – and the claim is – these things will lead you to direct interaction with God/the Father. I tend to think Jesus has a point personally – but that point is realized when we put into perspective what ‘belief’ means.

  11. The way is the way to God or following God. Jesus is God’s representative to humanity. Who did God send? Himself.

    The original Greek is what I based this on. Click here. Check out verse 7 also.

  12. First off, why on earth are using a translation from the 1600’s english? Just thought I’d ask.

    Secondly, the greek in this debate does nothing to clear up the topic of discussion – all it does is show me how it looks in greek.

    “The way is the way to God or following God. Jesus is God’s representative to humanity. Who did God send? Himself.” (Jim)

    So Jesus, as the person, is simply put – the way…what does that mean for us as people that want to be part of this faith? Is it a simple confession or does that idea contain more than that?

    I agree the way is to God – via Jesus – however – I make the distinction that is is via Jesus’ teachings. Even with Jesus as a rep for God – the teachings still have to be placed somewhere in the faith structure – are they as important or more important than the actual confession of following Jesus?

    Now the idea God sent himself is the one where centuries of debate have been happening since time immemorial. For me there is one inherent danger in this idea of putting Jesus as God – it breaks the 1st commandment (have no other gods but God)…also Jesus is not as direct as we think about this idea – even the ‘son of God’ idea goes back into Jewish teachings and we would have to look into that to see what all meant (I believe David was called a ‘son of God’?).

    The true fear with this issue is ‘what if you are wrong’? Then you go into direct breaking of God’s laws – namely the very 1st one of them – and how do you reconcile that with a meeting with God? Now I could be very well wrong about who Jesus is – maybe he is God – but I have to think God will understand – I am not 100% familiar with Jewish culture and ideas – nor am I wanting to break that 1st commandment. I am unsure about Jesus being in the Trinity (an idea never mentioned by Jesus himself – as in there is 3 aspects to God). Yet we still have the belief.

    So what do we do with that? Is Jesus God or is he not? If so, why?

  13. So Jesus, as the person, is simply put – the way…what does that mean for us as people that want to be part of this faith?

    John 14:21 – “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

    15 verses ahead. The 1600s English is irrelevant because the Greek words are what I was looking for. If you see a newer translation alongside the Greek, let me know.

    You wrote**The true fear with this issue is ‘what if you are wrong’? and Is Jesus God or is he not? If so, why?

    Jesus fits the OT prophecies like a glove (Note: that’s not a condemnation of Jewish people). His teachings are solid and constantly renew the minds that study them. If He isn’t who He says He is, then God screwed up. I’ll place my bets with the former and fear nothing.

  14. Society,

    Yeah, I kind of sidelined into the concept of the Father in this chapter, and then got back to your original question with pretty much repeating it. 🙂

    This often seems to get answered in the sense of “What is the way?” And the answer is “Jesus.” Which doesn’t answer your question, because you want to know what it means. We could also say that “the way” means “the way to the Father.” But this still really leaves the matter murky, because what is the way to the Father? (The standard answer here is Jesus). But then we’re back to what that means. Does it mean a belief statement about Jesus? What Jesus represented? What Jesus taught? Maybe it’s more along the lines of Jesus is the way in the sense of a guide, or someone to be followed.

    Normally, when someone says that something is the way to something else, they point out a path, or a map. But given the nature of this “way,” it wouldn’t be something that one can physically follow, like a road or a map. The “way” would require spiritual insight and spiritual senses, which is why Jesus was indicating himself/the Logos/what he represented. It’s not something to physically follow. It requires other “senses.”

    **Jesus fits the OT prophecies like a glove (Note: that’s not a condemnation of Jewish people)**

    As a note to this, though, and I’m sure Yael could elaborate more: my understanding is that those considered propheices by Christians do not equate to Messianic prophecies for the Jews. But regardless of what prophecy one takes, the idea of God becoming flesh, or the Trinity, or the Messiah being a divine being was not part of the Jewish culture. The idea of God being the Messiah can’t really fit the prophecies, or the culture that produced those propheices. I think there is a huge difference between saying that Jesus is the Messiah, or the Son of God, compared to saying “Jesus is God.” Jesus is direct about the first two. The latter is murkier.

  15. Awesome discussion. Much to do tonight, and will get back to this tomorrow evening, I hope.

    Societyvs, I am glad you agree with me, and I will add, as far as I went. I do believe that I didn’t go far enough in my explaination of “Jesus is the way.” If I read what you have said about it, I am pretty sure we are in agreement. I will try and put my add on later to see if what I say makes sense to you.

    This is a great discussion.
    MAKE IT a great Sunday.
    fishon

  16. People see what they want to see, believe what they want to believe for whatever their reasons. It matters not in the least to me what others do so long as they leave me and mine alone and out of the picture. Just as Christians are taught that clearly Jesus is whatever they claim him to be using passages from Tanakh, we Jews also find the basis for rejecting Christian teachings within Tanakh.

    Whenever anyone brings up about how Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies so perfectly unlike anyone else, I am reminded of the messianic chicken.. That gives you an idea about how much weight I give to these prophetic fulfillments.

    If anyone would like to read a more serious Jewish response to Christian claims, Rabbi Tovia Singer at Outreach Judaism is a good source. I don’t personally get into such debates because I’m not interested in debating nor am I interested in spending my time thinking about Jesus.

    As I have posted on my blog, Tanakh teaches that Jews are only allowed to worship One God, which excludes any Trinity, the other nations are not held to that standard however. Micah. Micah Again

    Sorry for putting up links, Jason, but I don’t feel like repeating myself. Don’t worry about breaking the 1st Commandment. This law was given to Jews along with 612 others. You don’t follow the others, so why worry about this one? Christianity says you’re free from the law. Might as well enjoy your freedom, right?

  17. Jesus fits the OT prophecies like a glove

    I’m sorry, but Jesus does not fit the OT prophecies like a glove. Christianity has for years taken various OT passages out of context and, in any case, interprets them differently than its intended Jewish audience did and continues to do. Jews simply don’t read the Bible in the manner in which Christians do, and never have, which is why we have an oral interpretive tradition.

    I have no intention of getting into this, but, if you are interested, peruse the materials on Jewish anti-missionary sites. You’ll find the counter-arguments there.

  18. Thanks, cipher, for the reminder. I am aware of the Jewish interpretations. I stand by what I said though, “like a glove”. But, hey, I am a Christian so maybe I’m biased. 🙂

    OSS
    **I think there is a huge difference between saying that Jesus is the Messiah, or the Son of God, compared to saying “Jesus is God.” Jesus is direct about the first two. The latter is murkier.**

    The verses we are reviewing show Jesus to be showing “You have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Can I say anything that would satisfactorily encompass the meaning of that statement? Nah. But it is our inability to comprehend (Philip didn’t get it, see verse 8) that makes it murky, not any ambiguity on Jesus’ part.

    OSS**my understanding is that those considered propheices by Christians do not equate to Messianic prophecies for the Jews.

    I would like to share the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 that the “suffering servant” who took “all our iniquities” on his shoulders was NOT divine. If he was God’s people Israel, how does a people take away the sins of the world….unless they were all divine. Even Messiah Truth’s take on the translation which is supposed to make it clear Israel itself is the Suffering Servant falls right back into pointing to Jesus. Read the “my own translation follows..” part.

    In any event the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the Christian God as well. The acrimonious rhetoric toward Christians by groups like “Messiah Truth” is unhelpful and unfortunate. Take care.

  19. No glitch there, Jim. Putting an 8 followed by parentheses will give you the smily sunglasses face. It has happened to me but fortunately it was somewhere I could edit since in my case it was totally inappropriate. I think I was talking about death….

    I agree with you about MT, I don’t even believe the ‘Christian posters’ there are real people. That’s why I point people who are interested in Jewish views on Christian teachings to Rabbi Singer. Most of the non-Christians who post on MT are former Christians with an ax to grind. Rabbi Singer is neither. His radio program has many, and perhaps mostly, Christian listeners. He is ever polite in dealing with people who disagree with him. I have corresponded with him on several occasions, he’s a good guy, even if he is Orthodox!

    If you want to see Jesus in Isaiah 53, you are going to see Jesus there. No one will ever convince you differently. As you say, you’re a Christian, that’s your belief. Just don’t tell me, as have so many other Christians, that I’m blinded because I don’t see them the way you do. Obviously Jews through the centuries haven’t seen them the way you do. It’s not a slam dunk for your side.

  20. Jason, the acceptance of Jesus is promised to, and in my experience did, change the heart and understanding (belief) of a person. Call it miraculous if you wish, but the result is a complete assurance of the truth that Jesus is our Savior. Thsi questions you ask about ‘how is a person supposed to know for sure’ are only applicable now to what our response should be to what Jesus did for us (on the cross) and how we are to ‘follow Him’ as commanded.

    Many get confused of what to do in response (due in a large part by the misleading of the church) but they knew at least at one time in their heart the truth.

    Call it hocus pocus if you want. It won’t change what I believe and it won’t change the fact that Jesus promised it (via the HS).

  21. It’s true, Yael, that Christians should not belittle those who do not follow their train of thought. Thanks for the 8) tip. the 8 and the ) does look like a smiley with sunglasses..

  22. Ken,
    Experience is nice, but my experience was the opposite of yours. For me rejection of Jesus caused a change of heart and understanding. When I came out of the mikvah after conversion to Judaism, after I clearly stated I renounced all former beliefs, I felt totally renewed. Rabbi said before my conversion he saw a spark that then came to life, and that was certainly an accurate description of what happened. I know a guy who converted to Islam from Christianity and just became the best person afterwards.

    Maybe it’s like immigration bringing new life to people, both the one emigrating and the ones who benefit from their presence. Personal experience is nice, but it doesn’t prove anything. There are migrations from this religion to that all over the place, there are great stories and changed lives all over the place. None of them prove the validity of one view over another since the changed lives are found in totally different faiths. To me, this only shows that there are many paths to God and that all of us need to be willing to let others find their own rather than trying to impose ours on them.

  23. Jim,

    **The verses we are reviewing show Jesus to be showing “You have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Can I say anything that would satisfactorily encompass the meaning of that statement?**

    If you make a statement to 300 people, and the 300 people don’t understand it, then the “fault” of the murkiness lies with the speaker, not the listeners (I’m aware there weren’t 300 people hearing the “if you have seen me …”. This is an example). If we possess an inability to comprehend, then the speaker must make him/herself clearer. You don’t blame the person for not understanding, the speaker must alter his/her words to convey the understanding.

    As it is, I don’t see any ambiguity with that verse. It’s the same as saying if someone sees your daughter, they also see you. They would see the genetic traits inherited from you, as well as certain personality quirks. Given that Jesus says in that verse that he is in the Father and the Father is in him, as well as its the Father dwelling in him that does the Father’s work, that Jesus cannot go against the Father and is like the Father in all aspects, you would see the Father by looking at Jesus. Also, givne that Jesus is shown as a model of God, the only begotton, who else is one going to see but the Father when looking at Jesus?

    ** would like to share the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 that the “suffering servant” who took “all our iniquities” on his shoulders was NOT divine.**

    I was thinking more of the prophecies the counter-missionary sites would say Jesus didn’t fufill. Or the “virgin birth prophecy” in Isaiah which was not a Messianic one at all. Not just based on the word difference between Hebrew and Greek, but the context of the Isaiah verse as well.

  24. Yael and Cipher thanks for weighing in on the discussion – I think it is nice to hear from a Jewish perspective some of the things we within this faith wrestle over. Also some of the advice given is something we can look into which might help us get a more rounded view of the Tanakh in comparison to how we sometimes narrowly look at it – ie: Rabbi Singer. I say ‘thanks’ as usual.

    “I think there is a huge difference between saying that Jesus is the Messiah, or the Son of God, compared to saying “Jesus is God.” Jesus is direct about the first two. The latter is murkier” (OSS)

    I agree OSS – for me this also quite the verbal problem it is intended to be. I remember discussing with Muslims over this whole thing that Jesus does not clearly state ‘he is God’ – I used to argue vociferously over this point that ‘Jesus is God’ – but I have come to see maybe they are making a valid point.

    “Christianity says you’re free from the law. Might as well enjoy your freedom, right?” (Yael)

    I think that is accurate with current Christian interpretations in almost all denominations – but it poses a problem for me on one level. As a Gentile I am aware I have no claims to the Torah – on this I am more than clear – but I have huge admiration for the way this idea has made the Jewish culture a strong one and has also rallied the community to sustaining itself (for over 5000 years?). For me, Matthew kind of points me also in that direction – to respect the Torah – since these are the words of God and the ideas held within them are ‘good’.

    I think that’s why I truly enjoy the Rabbinical commentaries you have shown me – they resonate strongly with me and with what I see the gospels building from. I am free to believe what I want – but that also doesn’t make me right – so background of the Jewish Tanakh and what that comes to mean also can help me solidify my own faith and find new ideals for my community – namely that community strengthening idea.

    “how does a people take away the sins of the world” (Jim)

    Interesting rabbit hole – I think i will take the carrot down it. Can this relate to the whole scale of counties we see in the world now – namely a USA? Then shouldn’t the basis of what is going to be salvific be the ideas being presented by said country? I think nations can impact other nations and possibly this the ideal we are staring in the face in this question? We just go from a personal level to a national one – and if we look closely – the ideal might be what teachings that nation is following? I think in Isaiah Israel is the suffering servant – but also Israel has within it the teachings to also help change countries to one of more fulfillment and decency. Hear me out on this.

    I just watched an amazing documentary on the that state of Israel when they had to forcibly remove other Jewish people from areas that were handed over to Palestine. In that whole struggle and various stand-offs there was something that threw me into ‘awe’ – both sides followed and respected the Tanakh – and because of their strict adherence to those ideals they did not violently harm one another (for the sake of the larger community). I was very aware if this happened in almost any other culture we would of most assuredly seen some vicious attacks and bloodshed – but due to nature of both sides and respect for one’s faith system – we seen something miraculous – respect for even your enemies and love for them. I think it’s ideals like this that can shape nations to be truly free.

  25. “It won’t change what I believe and it won’t change the fact that Jesus promised it (via the HS).” (Ken)

    I don’t want you to change Ken – I am not sure you truly need to. But even that sentence you made about the acceptance of Jesus will change you – where is that in the NT specifically? I think the idea resonates loud and clear in the gospels but usually via the process of accepting ideals of change (which Jesus both teaches and lives out – ex: helping an enemy Roman irregardless of his faith or culture). Now to say I accept Jesus is also to say I accept the teachings – and I think this is the point I am trying to lay out on the table.

    As for conversion, I cannot fully explain the process myself – I guess once you start to learn better ideals and see them actually work – change occurs (in mind and heart). I think Jesus is very interesting on this idea – he calls it like the wind – it happens where it will and no one controls it – so to explain it there is some parts of it we cannot truly identify – but we do know the teachings help in this change.

  26. Jesus said that He came to do His Father’s Will and not His own. I can think of no more effective Way to draw close to God.

    Pam

  27. Society vs,
    Got some time now, but I see the conversation has moved into an area that is over my head. However, I will try and finish my answer to what we were talking about. I know you all have moved on, so if you don’t reply, no problem.

    You wrote to me in post #11: The true problem occurs when we state the belief in a person – in this case Jesus – is the belief. There is not much for us to do there but to make a confession of belief – but it requires in and of itself nothing on our part except some lip-service – because the belief is not truly requiring an action (ie: I believe in Jesus – now what?). But if we look at the parable of the seed and the sowers the idea of the ’seed’ seems to be ‘the words of God’. I think Jesus is calling us back to that idea (see John 14:15). There we see that belief in Jesus means to follow his commandments/teachings and this leads us into the what it means to believe in Jesus (ie: lots of things to actualize in our real life scenarios).”
    ———Man, you wrote a mouth full, and I am in total agreement with you. –There are so many today that teach that Jesus is the way, confess it, you are heaven bond. If that was so, there was no need to write much more that makes up the Bible. No need for Paul to write letter after letter about “do’s-don’t,” and all the warning to Christians in his letters. I certainly do not believe in works salvation, but I do believe that genuine salvation will lead to “good works.” For Eph. 2:10 makes it plain, we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which were prepare in advance for us to do.

    Now back to “the Way.” I do believe that the person of Jesus is the “way.” The way to the Father, the way to heaven. But I also believe that when Jesus said, “…and the Truth…,” he is expanding the idea that he is not only the person of the Way to God, but his “truth,” that is, what he has taught and is teaching also is part of the Way. When Jesus says, “If you love me you will do as I command…,” is a strong statement to follow and OBEY the “truth.”

    Then Jesus said, “…and the life.” So what does he mean? First of all, Jesus is the creator of “life.” John I:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS GOD” [Caps mine]. “He was with God in the beginning. Through HIM” [Caps mine] “all things were made.”

    Jesus/Word/God created “life.” Physical life. So I believe when Jesus says, “I am the way…and the life,” he is now saying, I am the person of the way to the Father–my truth is the way to the Father, and I gave physical life, and now I bring “spiritual life.” I believe he makes it clear then, “no one come to the Father except through me.” I am the way to the Father–the truth of the Father–the spiritual access to the Father.

    As I re-read this, it is very convoluted. Sorry about that. Not much skill as a writer. So enough of my Babel
    fishon

  28. OSS
    I wrote** “You have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Can I say anything that would satisfactorily encompass the meaning of that statement?**

    You said**As it is, I don’t see any ambiguity with that verse.**

    I agree – it’s not ambiguous. What I couldn’t “satisfactorily encompass” is the significance of Jesus being God. “Fully man and fully God” is a mystery to our finite minds. That is what I thought you were saying when you said “murkier”. Perhaps I misread you.

    Regarding Messianic teachings in the OT. The Jewish people believe the Messiah will come once, the Christians and Muslims twice.

    As for the Christian interpretations of Messianic allusions to Jesus in the OT, along with Isaiah 53 I find Psalm 110 very convincing. Click here for an analysis. The Jewish scholars have their interpretations as well.

  29. “I don’t want you to change Ken – I am not sure you truly need to. But even that sentence you made about the acceptance of Jesus will change you – where is that in the NT specifically?” (SocietyVS)

    The idea of Jesus radically changing people is all through the NT. I would be skeptical myself but I know that is what *can* and somtimes does happen. Of course we see Jesus physically healing people and spiritually changing the hearts of everyone that believed, but the most vivid example of the HS having this effect on believers is in Acts where they were visited by the HS and they spoke other languages.

    Why does the HS affect some more than other? I don’t know. I do know for me, I had to overcome any thought that I was able to help myself get right with God. Once I said that I truly believe in and need Jesus, Jesus came into my heart and showed me love. Real love. And that is what changed me.

    Now I am happily bound to doing whatever I can.. as Pam said.. to do the fathers will and not my own.

  30. I’m still waiting for Ken to respond as to why if this is some unique thing to Christianity why people who convert from Christianity to other religions report the same kinds of changes. What’s your explanation since you think we’re all on the wrong path except for Christians?

    Jason,
    Torah was given in the wildnerness so that we Jews could not claim exclusive ownership. All who see Torah as a living, vibrant, meaningful guide to living life right now and not as some obsolete proof text for another religion have just as much claim to Torah as I do. It is a tree of life to all who grab hold of it, all its ways are pleasant and all its paths are peace. Honor Torah and Torah honors you. Treat it as dead wood and it is dead to you as well, disdain it and it will disdain you.

    Not many share our love and passion for Torah. Sometimes that really gets me down, but then I look at someone like you and I have to say it is enough to have one person come into my life who grows to understand and value Torah. Online is tough, in person I think many people have taken new looks at Torah as a result of theirs and my interactions. I tell God to take away this glow I have for Torah because it just makes life hard, but it never abates. I have to take people telling me I’m headed for hell, I have to take the dismissal of us Pharisees as bad people. Torah just isn’t popular or considered of value. Never think I’m pushing you away from Torah, Jason. You are one of the few people who understand my attachment to and fascination with Torah.

    Later this morning I will be wrapping a sefer Torah in a wimple in preparation for a boy’s Bar Mitzvah. Next week I will do the same for my own son. I can feel the holiness emanating from the scroll and I am in awe. I touch it always with the utmost reverence. I am truly blessed to live this life. I think of all the people who comment here, you alone, Jason, understand that. It helps.

  31. “I’m still waiting for Ken to respond as to why if this is some unique thing to Christianity why people who convert from Christianity to other religions report the same kinds of changes. What’s your explanation since you think we’re all on the wrong path except for Christians?” (Yael)

    I cannot explain this Yael. Maybe I should clarify that, while I believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life, many will reject Him in this life and be certain that they are doing the right thing. There are many who feel a relief and experience a positive change in their life when they reject God completely and begin to profess to be atheist. I am happy for you that you have found a way that is well with your soul, really I am. Actually, I do not look at you as someone who is not doing the will of God. We are told that *some* are called, not all. I do believe the Jesus is the only way but I will allow others to believe otherwise.

    I judge only those that profess to represent my beliefs, and I am even doing less of that these days. I have become quite comfortable with where I am spiritually, and I am very happy that you are also.

  32. Thanks Ken. Your explanation works for me. You have left open a space and that is all I need. When we first talked months ago you weren’t willing to leave that space. Anyone who is willing to let me and God work on me and God while they go on living their beliefs to the best of their ability is someone I can admire.

  33. Jim,

    **That is what I thought you were saying when you said “murkier”. Perhaps I misread you.**

    I meant “murky” in the sense of Jesus being God, given the various explanations I’ve seen for the “proof texts” of such a claim. Saying that Jesus is the Messiah or Son of God seems much more direct, per the NT. Even with the “see Jesus, see the Father,” I see a few ways to read it. The way I read it, per my explanation earlier, doesn’t lead me to the idea that if one is standing in front of God and asks where Jesus is, God will say, “Here I am.” As in, God is Jesus. That one, I don’t see. (Unless God would do the whole, “If you see me, you’ve seen Jesus.”)

    So we’re both saying it’s not ambigious. I just think we’re saying it’s not amibigious in different ways.

    I realize you were saying you can’t provide a satisfactory explanation, given our finite minds. However, if we have an inability to understand what is being said, I’m not sure we can then say that Jesus was clear in his statements. Our inability would prevent the knowledge that Jesus is clear — it would simply become a belief that “Jesus was clear, we just don’t know what that clarity is yet.”

    **Regarding Messianic teachings in the OT. The Jewish people believe the Messiah will come once, the Christians and Muslims twice. **

    Yes, but even with this, it becomes more of “Jesus fits the Christian interpretations of the Messianic prophecies like a glove.” And I think it goes a little deeper than that, with instances of the Messiah is not also God, for God can’t become a man. Even with the second coming — I believe they’d say that doesn’t work because the Tanakh goes more with the idea that the MEssiah comes once, and that’s it. From what I’ve read, the events they were specifically looking for, that would alert them to the Messiah, did not occur.

    **As for the Christian interpretations of Messianic allusions to Jesus in the OT, along with Isaiah 53 I find Psalm 110 very convincing**

    I’ve always found that Psalms interesting, with the “Adonai/Adoni” contrast. Do you find it convincing in the first line only, or the whole Psalms?

  34. OSS
    With regard to “see me, see the Father”, it sounds like a semantic game of Twister. We are saying the same thing in different ways. For example, if a tax man comes and shows you his badge and says “I’m your tax representative” he is saying in essence “I am the government. All monies collected will be through me from now on”.

    I wouldn’t say that God couldn’t become a man as that would violate the “nothing is impossible for God” doctrine. However, I think you might like the idea better that God could “inhabit” a man.

    Obviously, the “Jesus fits the Christian interpretations of the Messianic prophecies like a glove” quote is mine alone. Of course, my “Messianic prophecies” are not Jewish Messianic prophecies per se.

    What’s so interesting about Psalm 110 beside the reference to David’s “lord” (denoting a human lord) is that it immediately refers to “enemies” that the LORD will make into a footstool. This denotes a past tense – enemies will be made, the lord will sit at the right hand of God, until the End when the enemies will be destroyed. This is one of the best arguments Christians have for a two-visit Messiah. Also “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” is seen by Christians as referring to Jesus.

    Here’s a thought I’d like to throw out there. With half of the world’s population hailing from Abraham and a miraculously re-introduced state of Israel (miraculously sustained through multiple “unwinnable” conflicts) God may just be up to something.

  35. Jim,

    **For example, if a tax man comes and shows you his badge and says “I’m your tax representative” he is saying in essence “I am the government. All monies collected will be through me from now on”. **

    I don’t feel we are, simply because I’m not saying that Jesus is God. Even with this example — the two aren’t equal. There’s still a hierarchy. The representative was given such authority by the government it represents. But he and the government are not equal. Anything he has, anything he does, stems from the highest authority, and he stands in the government’s place. However, if we were standing before the government, and asked where the tax person is, the government wouldn’t say, “Here I am.” It would rather point to the representative.

    We are agreeing with the represantive idea.

    **I wouldn’t say that God couldn’t become a man as that would violate the “nothing is impossible for God” doctrine. **
    But we do say there are things logically impossible for God, such as making a square circle. I put the whole “God becoming a man” as impossible, because it becomes a contradiction. It’s saying that God is both infinite and finite, mortal and immortal, and so forth. It’s not even so much an “inhabit.” I go with the panentheistic view of God, since God is spirit. It’s not that God “inhabits” someone and then stops where the person’s skin stops. God is simply everywhere, and is in us, as we are in God. The whole “We live and move and have our being in Him” idea. So I think God was “in” Jesus, for he says that it’s the Father dwelling in him who does the works. But He was also “in” everyone else, as well. Given that those who had faith would do greater works than Jesus — so the Father in them (the other people) would be doing those works as well.

    **This is one of the best arguments Christians have for a two-visit Messiah. Also “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” is seen by Christians as referring to Jesus.**

    The question for me usually becomes “Would we be able to pick out Jesus/a Messiah from these verses without the NT?” Would Psalms 110 be a Messianic prophecy if there weren’t a NT saying that it was?

  36. “I think of all the people who comment here, you alone, Jason, understand that. It helps.” (Yael)

    Thanks for the compliment Yael – I have the utmost respect for the Jewish faith and all that you have shown me – I think I have called it like ‘finding gems’…and a lot fo the stuff you show me is usually that – some new piece of advice from Torah that helps shape my teachings about God.

    “if a tax man comes and shows you his badge and says “I’m your tax representative” he is saying in essence “I am the government. All monies collected will be through me from now on”.” (Jim)

    In that example – which I find interesting – the tax rep is the gov’t (true) but not in essence – he is not the gov’t in the sense he is not that entity (he is merely a rep for that entity). The person can leave or be fired – the entity remains. So in one regards he is the one with the entity and still not the entity…I think it is a close example to how I see Jesus.

    “With half of the world’s population hailing from Abraham” (Jim)

    What’s really strange about this idea is they have done tests on the First Nations people in Canada/America and have found we do not share the same dna from the Jewish nation – which is kinda too bad – I woulda liked to be Jewish. What makes it truly funny/ironic is the Mormon religion claims the First Nation people of the America’s are in fact Jewish. Even science seems to be against that claim – nevermind that we First Nations outright deny the claim of Jewish roots from two tribes I have never heard of (Nephi and Lamen). Just more weird food for thought.

    ” But He was also “in” everyone else, as well. Given that those who had faith would do greater works than Jesus — so the Father in them (the other people) would be doing those works as well.” (OSS)

    Excellent point – since that language is used in John and also written by Luke in Acts as being somewhat true.

    That all being said, I am not sure saying Jesus is ‘exclusively’ the way means Jesus is part God. I think once we get to a fine defintion of what ‘the way’ means in John’s writings then we can draw up conclusions about the character of the person making the claim. To me ‘the way’ is about living a certain lifestyle (according to Jesus teahcings – which in fact are from the Tanakh – since no gospel existed prior to Jesus) and how that reflects into the communities we are part of.

    Jesus is given the messianic tone throughout the gospels (called the Christ) and I personally like to reflect on his humanness more than some god-side of the person (which is practically unproveable). It’s like the whole Elijah and John the Baptist thing – Jesus does call John Elijah – but if we took that literally then we must believe in some re-incarnation idea. However, I think John is like an Elijah figure and that’s the point being made. Whereas I think the same can be said about Jesus – maybe he was a Christ figure showing us a ‘way to live’ that promotes integrity, learning, trust, paradigm building, and steps to a fuller life (ie: salvific lives). I think the message is very strong and fitting of a kingdom – one which we will likely never see upon our planet – but still we should seek to live the ideals in community (this kingdom of God). The term ‘the way’ is symbolic in some sense – like John being Elijah – Jesus being the way – but symbolic of something more obvious – the teachings of the man are the man.

  37. OSS**Would Psalms 110 be a Messianic prophecy if there weren’t a NT saying that it was?

    There would be no NT without Jesus so I guess the question is moot.

    societyvs**Even science seems to be against that claim

    Note, by “science seems” in this case we mean “the facts are”. Mormonism has a lot of indefensible points. That said, there are many debatable discrepancies in the Qur’an also and as you have seen that Jews don’t accept Christian interpretations either. Regardless, they are all Abrahamic religions (see Gen. 15:6).

    **but still we should seek to live the ideals in community (this kingdom of God)**
    True.

  38. John 14:6

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    His way is LOVE

    His truth is LOVE

    His life was LOVE

    no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    by Me = by LOVE

    1 John 4:16

    God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

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