When I was a very new driver I had an altercation with a bollard in a multi-storey car park. (The bollard won. My car has the dent to prove it.) I was confused and tried going up the wrong way – the bollard was there to stop people like me from crashing into cars that were going the right way. Well done, bollard, I say. And I’m happy to say that these days I’m a lot better at figuring out which is the way in.
That’s how it works with car parks, and with supermarkets, cinemas, museums, all sorts of places – you go in through the entrance and not through any other way. And we don’t normally grumble about that, do we? If you’re trying to get in through some other way, it’s either because you’re up to no good or because, as happened to me as a new driver in a busy car park, you’re confused.
And in some places you can’t just walk in, you need permission – someone sitting at a booth by the gate checks your ticket and says yes, you may enter. I live in England and as I’m not a British citizen, whenever I go away and fly back I have to queue up at Immigration and show my passport and get permission to enter this country. The person inspecting my passport has the authority to let me in (or not!). If someone else approached me when I was queuing up and offered to get me through, I’d be foolish to listen to them – they don’t have the authority.
People speculate a lot about how we can get into heaven. There are so many stories and myths and jokes around – but Jesus said he is the way, and the only way.
That would be an extremely audacious and arrogant claim, if he wasn’t really God.
Which goes for lots of things he said… Why did the religious authorities at the time get so angry with him? Because they heard him loud and clear, they heard him claim to be Divine and they saw that as blasphemy. That’s why he was handed over to the Romans to be crucified – not for preaching nice things, but for claiming to be God!
Audacious, arrogant, blasphemous – that would be a perfect description of Jesus’ claims and attitudes if he was just an ordinary human being. But he isn’t – he is the Word made flesh, the one through whom all things were made in the beginning, the creator of the universe come down to live as one of us and to die so that we could go free. He said he is the way, and guess what – he really is!
And the way is open to anyone – that’s the staggeringly good news. All those myths about how to get to heaven – they’re just made-up stories, and none of them begin to touch the simple way God has provided for us. Climbing the stairway? No, we don’t need to do any climbing. We couldn’t get there on our own – but that’s ok, God sent his only Son to show us the way, to be the way, and if only we put our faith in him then when our time comes to die, Jesus himself will come and take us there!
He has promised. And being fully God, he has the authority and the power to live up to his promises.
Come on in.