Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
-- Matthew 7:13
It was a tragic story that dominated the news and perpetrated the legend of the Kennedy family curse. What the world wanted to know was what caused the 1999 plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife and sister-in-law.
Conspiracy theorists pointed to political operatives who would stop at nothing to keep Kennedy from entering national politics and upsetting the 2000 presidential election. So-called “witnesses” even claimed to see his Piper Saratoga explode in mid-air. But for many others, the tragedy is simply that: a tragic accident. They point to the young pilot’s relative inexperience with instruments-only flying procedures. The weather was supposedly hazy and visibility less-than-ideal. The answer – they claim – is that JFK, Jr. became disoriented during the flight and failed to trust his instruments. He instead decided to trust his instincts and literally flew his airplane into the ocean.
Whether or not this scenario is accurate, it is plausible. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Kennedy lost control after his plane made a series of rapid turns and altitude changes as it approached the airport. Veteran flight instructor Ernie Carnahan says this disturbing aerial activity is commonly known as a graveyard spiral.
Did JFK, Jr.’s self-reliance and refusal to believe the truth (his instruments) result in disaster? If so, he wasn’t a trendsetter. As King Solomon observed centuries ago in Proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
That’s true for physical death. But it’s also the case for spiritual death; a stern warning that Jesus reiterated to His followers and enemies alike. He understood 1st Century ideas about faith and spirituality, and how in many ways they would never change. The Roman Empire that governed Biblical Israel was one of multiculturalism. Although the Jews worshipped the true God, the Romans and other peoples worshipped multiple false, manmade deities. But if they were willing to worship Caesar as Lord, all was good and tolerated.
Modern society continues to embrace a multiculturalism and political correctness that declares no faith to be better than any others. Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism; it makes no difference – particularly if you’re sincere in your faith. Those who stand for Biblical principles are denounced as naïve, bigots and intolerant. Today in Canada, Holland and other nations, those who denounce the evils of Islam are brought up to special commissions for questioning and prosecution. The United Nations even seeks to adopt binding legislation against blasphemy… and certainly not to protect Jesus’ good name!
Jesus – who was at the foundation of the world – knew that man’s self-reliance and understanding concerning faith and salvation meant destruction, death and separation from Him. To this, he answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
An outrageous and intolerant claim? Only to those who refuse to believe in Him. But to those who follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior, His stunning declaration is a simple roadmap that shows the only trustworthy pathway to truth and eternal life.