There was a comment left on this post that has got me thinking over the last several days. It was left by an old friend who is now at Mars Hill Graduate School... a progressive seminary-type school where it seems they wrestle through the hard issues... like some of the stuff I thought out loud about on that post.
So, I welcome his comment. The question was, what do you do with the passage in John, where Jesus says, "No one comes to the Father except through me." And I was proposing that perhaps all/most religions have their start in God, and the common theme seemed to be the theme Jesus spent most of his life exhibiting... that is, they share love/goodness/peace/compassion in common.
Okay, but what about this passage that seems fairly 'narrow' if you will. Well, to begin with, let me say that I do not know. I am wrestling through much of this and see things a certain way, but almost guaranteed, I will see things differently tomorrow and the next day. So, that being said, here's my thoughts for this week...
First off I catch that the phrase "the way, the truth and the life" and remember that this is what the Hebrews said about Torah. It was the way, the truth, and the life. And here comes Jesus on the scene proclaiming that he is (essentially) the living Torah. This way of living in rhythm with God, right? I mean, that's what Torah was... not merely rules. They were a sort of natural law that helped the people to live in a rhythm of life with God. So, that is what I first look at.
Now, going off that notion, I am remembering that in Malachi God says (through the prophet) that other nations are bringing him greater worship than Israel is... and they are not observing Torah... hmm... that is just an interesting thing to consider... perhaps Torah brought the Jews salvation (in the immediate, existential definition which I hold to), but it was a means, not the end. The end was God. Which I think is even what the Buddha would even say (sorta... I mean, he didn't believe in YHWH)... that the point wasn't the messenger, the point is the message. Change your lives, the kingdom is here. A better way of living in rhythm with God, bringing healing to the world, loving above all else... is here.
Okay, so, I wonder a few things about this passage... one if this is directed toward the future or the now? Thomas seemed pretty confused... Perhaps because the Jews didn't have any real sense of the afterlife except Olam Haba, which was a kind of final place where creation returns to Creator, right? I mean, some believed the Zoroastrian notions of heaven and hell, but this was not formally part of the Jewish tradition. I mean, it was a sin in Hebraic thought to do something in this life that somehow brought about merit in the next (which is very different form the Hindu/Buddhist ways of thinking).
Perhaps it had to do with those who heard the message more than it did universally. Perhaps it is saying that all come to the Father through Jesus... but perhaps not all know it. I don't really know. These are just thoughts.
I think one of the dangers in allowing yourself to journey 'out of bounds' is never holding anything in your hands again, but it is a chance I will take right now... Anyone have any other thoughts on this?