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Is Jesus the Only Way?

Tyler David    /    Dec 01, 2013

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Tyler David teaches about Jesus being the only way using Mark 14:32-42

Series: The Gospel of Mark

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Sermon Transcript

 

In the Garden of Gethsemane, we find Jesus praying and struggling to embrace the cross and the will of God for His life. He was struggling with the thought that He would soon pay for our sins, sins He didn’t commit. He was about to pay a debt that He didn’t owe.


Through this story, one of the most basic truths of Christianity comes to life; Jesus is the only way to God. There is no other route to knowing God as your Father and having your sins forgiven than Jesus being the payment for them. He is the only way. There isn’t room for anyone or anything else.

 

Your Preferred Route, But Not The Only One

 

No truth could be more fundamental or as important. Yet, it’s still very difficult to get our minds around. We live in a day and age that is very pluralistic; people believe there are many ways to knowing God.

 

But Jesus is exclusive and says there is no other way, but through Him.

 

It’s difficult to come to terms with this. He makes no room for any other philosophy, religion or worldview as a way to truly knowing God.

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 (ESV)

 

You’ve probably heard and say you believe this. But for the most part, our lives reflect that we don’t think He’s the only way to God. Yes, we believe He died for sin and He’s really important to know God, but we live as if He’s just the best route, not the only way to God.

 

For most of us, Jesus is the preferred way to God, but at the end of the day, there are other ways.

 

A consistent debate in my marriage is directions. When we get in the car and I’m driving, we will hardly ever agree on the route to our given location. I’ll pick a route, but my wife will quickly ask me why we’re going that way. She’ll then suggest another one. I tell her my way is the fastest. She then questions if I’m sure about that. Quickly the questions turn into statements as how the route I’ve chosen is definitely not the fastest way to go. I always take it too personally and defend myself by going to Google Maps to prove my route is superior to hers. Then I remind her of all the times she’s gotten us lost.

 

If you look at the routes and our objectives, there’s really not that much difference between them. Maybe mine takes a right here and hers a left there, but at the end of the day, the mileage and distance is not that different.

 

We typically see Jesus in the same way. He’s a particular route. He’s the fastest and best way to God, but not the only way. There are other ways to know Him. If you’re really good, if you serve a lot, if you pray and read your bible everyday, we can know Him. We begin to see that He’s just our way. All of a sudden the way you know God isn’t through Jesus, but by how well you behave, or the type of family you have, or through the church you attend, or not committing certain sins. Suddenly you’re not talking about Jesus that much at all.

 

We talk about our feelings, how the church needs to change, how our jobs are going, but rarely do we talk about Jesus. He has become secondary. Through this, our culture begins to learn that you don’t have to really know Jesus to know God.

 

This is just not true. The only way you can truly know God is through Jesus Christ.

 

Something Greater Than Death

 

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:32-42 (ESV)

 

It was Jesus’ last moment with His disciples before His suffering was to begin. He took them to a familiar place, the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus left most of them at the beginning of the garden, and then took His three closest friends, James, Peter and John, with Him to pray. Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow, grief and terror at the thought of what was about to happen. He knew the cross was ahead of Him. In Luke’s account of the story, Jesus was sweating blood from His forehead because of the strain He was experiencing.

 

Why was Jesus so sad and terrified? Was it because He was scared of dying, not wanting nails to go through His wrists?

 

Throughout the history of the church you find stories of men and women dying for Jesus. When they die for Him, they don’t have fear. They want to die for Jesus; they’re eager and ready for it.

 

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Philippians 1:21-24 (ESV)

 

Nothing about this text portrays Paul as struggling or terrified. He was looking forward to death. The only reason he wanted to stay was for the sake of the church.  So why do so many of the saints have such confidence and eagerness to die, yet Jesus sat in the garden weeping and sweating blood, asking God for another way?

 

Jesus was facing something more than death, something more significant. He was about to experience something none of His followers will ever experience. Jesus knew that on the cross He was going to experience the wrath of God. He wasn’t filled with sorrow because He was scared of physical pain, or shame, or His friends abandoning Him. He knew the spiritual agony, torment, hopelessness and terror of the wrath of God and it was coming to Him.

 

Jesus had only known the Father in love. God has always existed in eternity past, never having a beginning. The Father and Son have known one another in perfect love and infinite happiness forever. Jesus has always been His Father’s delight and He knew that on the cross He wouldn’t be. His Father was about to pour His wrath out on Him for our sins.

 

On the cross, Jesus would become sin on our behalf and God would treat Him as such.

 

Is There Any Other Way?

 

34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” Mark 14:34 (ESV)

 

Jesus was asking His father if there was any other way for His people to be saved for their sin than Him having to die and endure God’s wrath.

 

35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:35-36 (ESV)

 

39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. Mark 14:39 (ESV)
 

If there was any other act, Jesus wanted to do that. He was willing to do whatever it took. He asked three different times; He kept praying for the same thing, for another way.

 

In all of God’s resources, surely there was another way for His people to be saved, other than Jesus having to die on the cross for their sins.

 

41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:41-42 (ESV)

 

For the third time, Jesus found His disciples asleep and then He knew what His Father’s answer was; He was the only way. God heard His prayers, but He had to experience His wrath in order for them to be saved. God’s wrath had to be absorbed through Jesus.

 

Jesus was not God’s preferred way, but the only way.

 

We’re At Odds

 

This truth may be basic, but it’s difficult to think about. The implications of it lead us to feel how weighty it is. Our sin isn’t as grievous as it is simply because it hurts us and other people. Our sin is grievous because it puts us at odds with God.

 

Our sin is primarily against God and puts us under God’s terrible eternal wrath.

 

God will pour out His wrath and sin will be punished. Either He will pour it out on Jesus or on us, but He will execute judgment. His wrath, glory and love demand it. That’s why He says there is no other way.

 

Faith in Christ is the only way to escape that judgment and be loved by God as a son and daughter forever.

 

No matter how moral a person may be, or how nice, or how well intentioned, or how faithful, no matter the background or culture, the only way to God is faith in Jesus Christ.

 

When we hear that it’s difficult to see God as loving. If He were loving, surely He would find another way. He would take into account all the different scenarios in the world and would find some other way.

 

However, it’s precisely because He is loving that Jesus is the only way.

 

Love will always be at the heart of God. The heart of the trinity is holiness and love. There are two dominant themes in the Scriptures. God shows us what He loves and how He loves. The two things He emphasizes over and over are His love for His glory and His love for humanity.

 

God first and foremost loves Himself. Secondly, He loves His people.

 

There are tons of biblical texts showing this is true. God loves Himself most because He is most lovable. God values Himself most, because He is most valuable. There is nothing greater, better, more satisfying than God.

 

For Him to act otherwise would be a lie. It would make Him sinful. If He is the most satisfying being in the universe, than to point us in any other direction would not be helpful. It would be less satisfying than if He gave us Himself.

 

This doesn’t negate or lessen His love for us. It just puts us in our proper place.  We’re not the center of the universe; it’s not about us. It’s about Him.

 

God loves His glory and His people, but our sin puts these two loves at odds with one another. Because of our sin, we’re basically saying, “God, you’re not most lovable, valuable or satisfying. Something you’ve created is better than you.” We belittle and devalue His glory. Whether your valuing family, sex, money, comfort or anything else over God, we’re saying there is more joy apart from God than with Him.

 

If God loves and values His glory, then when we offend and belittle it, wrath is produced. Wrath comes from love; it’s love in action. God’s wrath is produced to protect what He loves.

 

If you love someone, you will find yourself producing wrath if someone else belittles, devalues or degrades that person. You jump to action to defend and protect them.

 

Wrath is love in action.

 

If this is true for us, then it is infinitely truer for God. He loves His glory more than anything. He should, because nothing is more loveable and valuable.

 

So now His loves are at odds; the same people He wants to love, He also wants to punish. This is a problem.

 

Reconciling God’s Two Loves

 

It seems like God can only do one or the other; He can only love His glory or only love us. He can’t do both. He could love His glory, but would then have to condemn us to hell forever and wouldn’t be able to love us also. Or, He could love us and let us off scot-free, but He wouldn’t be loving His glory as we trample all over it with our sin. Either way, God is going to be a sinner. For us, we’re either going to hell or have no joy forever, because if we miss out on the glory of God, we miss out on eternal joy.

 

It seems like there’s no way to solve this problem. There’s no way back to God for us.

 

But then, God sends Jesus. He is the solution to the problem. Jesus enables God to love His glory most as He loves us at the same time. Through Jesus, God is able to love His glory by punishing sin. He’s able to uplift the value of His name by punishing every sin against Him, but He does so by pouring out His wrath on Jesus, instead of us.

 

The cross shows us how grievous sin is, because someone still had to die. Jesus had to die. God is also now able to love us, because Jesus took our place. So now we get to know God in love, friendship and fellowship. Jesus took all the punishment.

 

Jesus is the way for God to love His glory and His people at the same time.

 

He’s not the preferred way or an option out of many. He’s the only way.

 

Jesus Is Better

 

41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:41-42 (ESV)

 

Jesus knew there was no other way. All He was terrified of in the garden, all that was making Him sweat blood, He knew was going to happen. He knew the wrath of God was coming for Him, but He wasn’t fearful anymore. He was determined and ready to face it head on.

 

Jesus wasn’t forced to the cross; He wanted to go.

 

He heard the will of the Father and was ready to go. He loved His father enough that He wanted the world to see that sin is as bad as He says it is. He was willing to die for it. He loved us enough to die, so that we could be free and know God.

 

This is why Jesus is the centerpiece of everything. Not only did He make the way, but He also wanted to make it happen. He faced what was most terrifying, for us.

 

Jesus is better than us, yet gave His life for us.

 

The Good News

 

There is no more punishment for sins. There is no more anger or wrath toward our sin anymore. This frees us up; no matter what happens in your life, God has not brought it about to punish you.

 

Too often we have bad circumstances, losing a job, destroyed relationships, loved ones getting sick, and in the back of our minds we think God may be doing this because He’s mad at us or because we did something wrong.

 

If you’re in Christ, this is not the case. Jesus was punished and abandoned on the cross, the wrath of God poured out on Him so that we would know we’ll never be abandoned. God will always love us.

 

This is the great news we have; this is the gospel.

 

Jesus is the only way that is sure, steady and guarantees we can know God as our Father. All we have to do today is just confess that Jesus is right, He is steady and sure and is our only hope.