The most popular rock and roll song of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine is Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Co-written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant…Page said, “It was as if some unknown spirit moved my hand.” Deep within the song is this line…”There are two paths you can go by but in the long run there’s still time to change the road your on.”
Two paths that lead to the stairway to heaven….and “Hey, don’t worry…don’t stress over which one you choose…in the long run you’ll always be able to change roads.”
I think about those words because of the attitude of our culture which seems to say, “All roads are just as viable. All lifestyle’s are just as good…especially if you’re a millinial…don’t rock the boat…don’t come across as appearing judgmental or intolerant. We live in an age where it’s popular to believe that…”All roads lead to heaven,” and if you decide you don’t like the road you’re on, then try another, because it’s just as valid. It seems the god of this world, Satan, uses this ploy over and over again like a carrot held on a stick in front of a horses mouth. Go after the carrot in hopes of satisfaction and he always keeps it out of your grasp…and so you try another direction and Satan laughs and switches the carrot on the string for an apple on a string…and you never get either.
People, all people are looking for something that gives life meaning and satisfaction…in a relationship, in a job, in a toy, in an addiction, in a movement…
Here is the problem for us as Christ followers. We do not believe that all roads are just as viable. Christ followers do not believe that all roads lead to heaven. We believe in something, or someone who is far less tolerant of other options to heaven…
In John 14 in the Bible Jesus is having an intense conversation with his disciple…He’s told them He’s about to leave and go to a place they cannot follow. They don’t understand and are heartbroken…they are deeply saddened. Jesus knows the cross is staring Him squarely in the face so He says to them in their grief….”Don’t let your hearts be broken…you believe in God the Father….believe in me the same way…I’m going to prepare a place for you to be with me in heaven…with the Father…there’s lot’s of room….(It’s a big big house 🙂 And if I go and prepare that place for you I will come back and take you to be with me there…if it were not so I would have told you.”
And the Jesus says something amazing to these grieving followers….He says, “You know the way to the place I’m going.” And Thomas, one of the 12 says, “Lord, we don’t know the place so how can we know the way?” And Jesus says, I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”
Heaven isn’t mentioned specifically, but it’s most certainly the place Jesus is talking about. And Jesus is totally intolerant of any other way to get there, but through Him, No One is as narrow and exclusive as it gets.
When you look at other major religions in the world each of them share this in common….a teacher, or series of teachers, designs a road you should take or roads, and then tells you how you get down that road in a prescribed manner. If you follow the road as the teacher has designed you arrive at heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla. Hinduism has ancient teachers who pass down the Vedic traditions which describe the rites and rituals for Hindus to observe. In Islam, Muhammad points to the Koran and it’s 5 pillars for Muslims to practice. Buddha has prescribed an 8 fold path for Buddhists to follow, with the 4 noble truths and hundreds of other rules. In Sikhism, 10 Gurus have pointed to one body of teaching as the way to truth and life.
But Christianity is soooooooooooo different. When Jesus came on the scene in human history and began to call His disciples He blew away the theory that you could follow a list of rules to arrive at heaven and said, “Follow Me.” Those two simple words as David Platt wrote, “Make it crystal clear that Jesus wasn’t interested in being just a Rabbi who dispenses spiritual teaching…He was saying to His followers, “Come to me…have a relationship with me…and only through that relationship can you find the road to heaven….because I am the road…I am the way…that is the truth….and you cannot take another road to get there!”
Here’s my thoughts for us as Christ followers. Telling people who are on the wrong road they are stupid, evil and lost doesn’t seem like the right way to change hearts and minds. Yes, I believe we should speak the truth in love. Yes, I believe there are certain things worth fighting for. Yes, I believe that if God’s Word says it is sin….it’s sin. But throwing rocks never works…it didn’t for us. Spending time with people you disagree with and still loving them seems to be a lot more Christlike…it’s what He did everyday of His ministry.
And it’s important….more important than anything else, for us to remember that the power of conviction and the “cutter of hearts,” isn’t us….it’s God’s Spirit, working through us. He is the one who convicts the world in regards to sin, righteousness and the coming Judgment.
The stairway to heaven doesn’t have two paths….there’s only one way, and His name is Jesus…let’s just remember that we needed the Holy Spirit and people that loved us enough to be patient to find that stairway ourselves.
Glad the Rock Rolled Away,