Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven? April 29, 2024

Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven? Many Christians believe so, based on these words to his disciples:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” John 14:1-3, 6-7

Let’s keep the scripture in context, and look at Jesus’ example of Heaven being like a house with many rooms as he says he’s going to prepare a place for us. Some translations chose “mansions,” while others use “living spaces.” A house with many rooms, where there will be no more pain and no more war and no more sorrow. A “living space,” not a dying space.

Jesus says he will come back, and take us there. And for those who have passed on before the return of Jesus? They will be in that living space waiting for us.

I believe our souls were in the heart of God, we live as the heart of God, and when we leave this Earthly world, we will return to the heart of God. Loved by the One who created and loves all the heavens and the Earth.

And then Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” “Except BY me,” reads some translations. I am the way to the father’s house, to the father’s mansions, to life eternal.

Some Christians use the words of Jesus to claim that the way to heaven is a narrow hallway.

Some interpret the Book of Revelation to mean that only 144,000 people will get into heaven. Calvinists believe they are among the “elect,” whom God has predetermined for heaven.

“There are 144,000 rooms,” they believe, “and all of them are reserved.”

Ironic that the baby born in a manger because there was no room in the house, would prepare a house for humanity, with a limited number of rooms.

“Our Jesus is the key to the door and he’s only letting us in,” say Catholics, Mormons, Greek Orthodox, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, “Bible-believing,” independent churches, and all the other Christians who believe that Jesus was talking about them, and them alone, when he said that no one comes to the father, except through him.

German soldiers in WW II wore belt buckles proclaiming, “Gott Mit Uns” (God with Us) as they murdered millions of helpless people. Are Nazis in heaven because they said they were Christian?

Is Mahatma Gandhi in hell? A man dedicated to peace and nonviolence?

Many Christians will say, “nope, Gandhi isn’t in heaven. There isn’t a room for him in God’s home, because Gandhi was a devout Hindu and not a Christian.”

In March 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in Washington, D.C. after negotiations conducted by President Jimmy Carter, a Baptist Sunday school teacher who believed he could negotiate peace between people who had been in conflict for a very, very long time.

The treaty was signed by Israel’s Menachem Begin and Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, who was later assassinated by extremists in the Egyptian military. Despite decades of regional conflict, the treaty endures as a reminder that peace is possible in a region at war.

As a life-long Christian, when Jimmy Carter passes, he will see the wife he loved in the room Jesus prepared for them.

Sadat, a devout Muslim who was willing to give his live to secure peace for his people, and Begin, because he was Jewish, have no place in God’s house.

Is the Christian German soldier who machine gunned unarmed, American prisoners of war in heaven and Sadat, Begin, and Gandhi aren’t? I have great difficulty believing that.

Jesus doesn’t say they aren’t in heaven. Christians do.

What does Jesus tell his followers to do? What is the most important thing?

“Be a Christian?” “Go to confession?” “Murder anyone who isn’t the same sort of Christian you are?” “Eradicate from the face of the Earth everyone who doesn’t follow me?”

What does Jesus say is the greatest commandment?

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment, Jesus said. “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Sadat a Muslim and Gandhi a Hindu loved God and loved their neighbors, just as Jesus commanded.

Jesus has prepared many rooms for those who do what he says to do.

I believe in God’s mercy – a mercy that saves me in spite of myself – a mercy that can save anyone, because we can’t see with human eyes God’s mercy for those born in other countries, raised in different religions or who live lives that are different than mine.

I believe the Living God wants all people to know and love the Living Spirit as revealed most fully in the person of Jesus of Nazareth found in the Holy Scriptures. During his execution Jesus forgave his murderers in a sacrificial love for all of humanity, even those who don’t believe in him.

Tony Campolo is a Baptist preacher and a sociology professor.

I heard Tony tell this story, about taking a flight from the west coast to the east – a story he shared often.

When he’s interested in talking with people, he’ll tell his seatmate that he’s a sociology professor, which often sparks conversations about people and society.

When he’d rather sleep, Tony tells people he’s a Baptist preacher, and they generally leave him alone because they’re afraid he’ll preach at them.

Hoping to get some sleep, Tony introduced himself as a Baptist preacher.

“Do you know what I believe?” the man asked Tony. “I believe that going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia.

“There are many ways to get to Philadelphia,” he continued. “Some go by airplane. Some go by train. Some go by bus. Some drive by automobile. It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up at the same place.”

“That’s nice,” Tony said and went to sleep.

Tony woke up to the plane descending to Philadelphia in the middle of a storm. The wind was blowing, rain beating on the plane, turbulence buffeted the plane and everyone looked nervous.

“As we were circling in the fog, I turned to the theological expert on my right,” Tony said. “’I’m certainly glad the pilot doesn’t agree with your theology.’”

“What do you mean?” the man asked.

“Right now, air traffic control is giving instructions to the pilot as to what speed, altitude, heading, and direction he should fly the plane.

“I’m glad the pilot’s not saying, ‘Do you know what I believe? I believe there are many ways into the airport. There are many approaches we can take.’ I’m glad he’s saying, ‘There’s only one way we can land this plane, and I’m going to stay with it.’”

I’m glad I have Jesus and I’m going to stay with him.

About Jim Meisner Jr.
Jim Meisner, Jr. is the author of the novel Faith, Hope, and Baseball, available on Amazon. He created the Facebook page Faith on the Fringe. He delivered a version of this sermon to his church on April 28, 2024. You can read more about the author here.
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