A Revelation … on the Brink of Suicide
I had an interesting discussion with a man at my local cafe the other day about what it means to be a Christian. And listening to his “Christian” perspective made me realise how much, en masse, people are missing out on, when it comes to Jesus and all that He came to bring us.
So I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you, that had their genesis in me, on the brink of suicide.
The Cafe Discussion + The Facebook Post
Paul (the man at the cafe) asked me about a Facebook post that I’d put up during a recent trip to India, referring to that land as “the land of the lost”.
I explained that as a country which is 80% Hindu, millions of people are headed to a Christless eternity. They are, in biblical terms, “lost”.
“Hang on a minute,” says Paul. “Isn’t that just a bit arrogant? I come from a Christian perspective, but claiming that your way is the right way, that your way is the only way, well, it just seems a bit arrogant to me.”
Fair enough. I get where he’s coming from.
We live in a pluralistic world that says “Your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth and so long as it works for each of us, let’s not try to shove our belief systems down each others’ throats.”
Anything that cuts across this 21st century gospel of Pluralism is seen as being offensive, or as Paul put it, arrogant.
The bottom line for Paul and indeed many other people who perhaps also “come from a Christian perspective,” is that pluralism trumps absolutism.
And indeed, the reason that Christianity is offensive to so many people, is that it claims to be, “the only way”.
Really?! In this day and age? How dare they …
So, is Jesus the Only Way?
I explained to Paul, as I have shared with many other people in the past, why I hold that position. It’s not something that I dreamed up, or which (thank God!) the church dreamed up. It’s actually something that Jesus said to His disciples just before He was led away to be crucified:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas 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 know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7)
So my belief, the Christian belief, is that the only way to receive eternal life is to believe in Jesus. To believe that He is who He said He is – the Son of God, that He died to pay for all our sins and that He rose again to give us a new life, an eternal life with Him.
So – love it or hate it, agree with it or disagree with it – that’s what Jesus said and it is that faith in Him, which is the cornerstone of Christian belief.
Of Course Rejecting Jesus is Nothing New
People have been rejecting Him since He was born. The religious leaders objected to Him so much that they had Him crucified.
Sometimes Christians become all tribalistic about “people not accepting them”. We’re meant to accept what other people say and think, but as soon as we voice an opinion, we’re shot down.
“There is only one way” … “I am against same-sex marriage” … for instance, are incredibly unpopular positions to hold these days. We think this rejection is something new. But just after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Apostle Peter had this to say to the religious people who had rejected Him:
This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)
Jesus Himself said:
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21)
Just because the majority thinks one way, doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. There are plenty of examples of that in history.
But the truth, God’s own truth, is that there is salvation in no one else, but Jesus.
A Personal Perspective – on the Brink of Suicide
Heady arguments have never been my thing. I’ve written what I’ve written to set out the facts as I know them, from God’s truth (yep, I know that might sound arrogant to you, I get that, but there you go).
As someone who made quite a financial success of his life as a young man, I really didn’t think I needed a crutch, or religion, or a “Saviour”. Not in a million years. And I like my friend Paul, I found the Christian “there’s only one way” dogma arrogant (and in my case, deeply offensive to boot).
But the more success, reputation and money that came my way in my jet-setting, international IT consulting career, the more I realised that something was missing. I knew that it was something really important. I yearned for it …. I just didn’t know what it was.
All I knew is that the longer I went without it, the more it hurt. The more empty, the more desperate I became. And that … that was so weird for a person that everybody else looked on as Mr Success and Mr I’ve-Got-My-Life-Together!
It’s a whole inside that became deeper and deeper, until it pushed me to the brink of suicide. I was literally standing on a ledge on the 8th floor of a building ready to jump.
But right there and then, I had a revelation of Jesus.
Man that sounds corny, doesn’t it? But … in my heart, I just felt to go back inside, kneel down and pray.
God if you’re out there, now would be a good time.
That’s all I had. That’s all it took. I still had many difficult and painful things to travel through but since the day I gave my life to Jesus (15th of October 1995) it’s been a completely new life. A life of peace, of joy and of power to overcome the human flaws that had so robbed me of life.
For me, it’s no longer an intellectual argument. But the truth is the truth.
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:21,23)
And knowing that truth is what has set me free.
My Prayer for You
I don’t know where you stand. Perhaps you’re a bit of a born again atheist, violently opposed to all things Christian. Or perhaps like my friend Paul, you have a bit of a bob each way – a Christian perspective based on the world’s ethos of pluralism.
Or maybe you’ve believed in Jesus, but it hasn’t been working for you.
Well wherever you are on your journey, know this.
I am praying that God will meet you out on your ledge when the time is right. I am praying that deep in your heart, He will give you a personal revelation of Jesus Christ so that you will know the joy, the peace and the life-changing power that comes from Him and Him alone. I am praying that you and I will have the rest of eternity together to rejoice in what He has done for you.
For there is no other name by which you can be saved. In Jesus’ name I pray these things for you. Amen.