Saturday, October 1, 2016

Show Me the Way

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 fueled the legend of the Kennedy Family curse. The world wanted to know what caused the 1999 plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife and her sister.

Conspiracy theorists pointed toward political operatives who would stop at nothing to keep Kennedy from entering national politics and upsetting the 2000 presidential election. One Way Sign2So-called witnesses claimed to have seen his Piper Saratoga explode in mid-air. But for many others, the tragedy was simply that: a tragic accident. They cited the young pilot's relative inexperience with instruments-only flying procedures. The weather was supposedly hazy at the time, with less-than-ideal visibility. The answer--they claimed--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.

This scenario is quite 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 known as a graveyard spiral.

Did JFK, Jr.'s self-reliance and refusal to believe the truth (the plane's instrument panel) 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 Israel at the time was multicultural. And although the Jews worshiped the true God, the Romans and their other subjects worshiped multiple false, man-made deities. But if these so-called pagans were willing to worship Caesar as Lord, Rome would tolerate them.

Some things haven't changed after 2,000 years. For example, society embraces a multiculturalism that declares no faith above another. That familiar COEXIST bumper-sticker seemingly abounds in every parking lot. And whether you advocate Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism--it makes no difference--particularly if you're sincere in your faith. 

On the other hand, Christ-followers who dare to stand for Biblical principles are denounced as naive, bigoted and intolerant. And in Canada, Holland and other nations, citizens who've denounced the evils of Islam have been brought before special commissions for questioning and prosecution. The United Nations has even sought to adopt binding legislation against blasphemy--and certainly not to protect Jesus' good name!

Christ knew that mankind's self-reliance and pride would ultimately lead to destruction, death and separation from the Creator. But his solution was one of simplicity and reassurance: "I am the way and the truth and the life," he proclaimed. "No one comes to the Father except through me."

Was that an outrageous and intolerant claim? Only to those who refuse to believe that he is who he claimed to be. But to those who follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior, his stunning declaration is a road map showing the only way to truth and eternal life.

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