My brother and I were driving down the highway to get to our hotel yesterday evening, and I spotted the place from a little ways off. A nice hotel–tall and new. I pointed out the driveway, and my brother started to turn in. But the lane was mostly blocked by construction cones and orange flags, leaving only a narrow entry on the driveway.
He didn’t feel comfortable entering that way, so he just kept going straight, thinking that there would be another entrance further down the road. But there wasn’t. There wasn’t after we turned the corner of the property either. No, that one driveway was the only way to get into the hotel.
Apparently this is somewhat common in this area–to only have one driveway that leads into or out of a parking lot. That seems like poor planning to me. But then I’m not a city engineer. There might be reasons why there’s only one way to get into the parking lot, and I just don’t know them.
What matters to me is that there is a way to get into the parking lot. Maybe it’s not the way I would have chosen. Maybe it’s not as convenient as I would have preferred. But it’s the only way. So I can try to go around it all day long looking for an alternative route, but I’m still going to end up at the same place when all is said and done.
Today’s verses are Acts 4:10-12.
“Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
This is Peter speaking to the religious leaders in Jerusalem, and it’s one of the examples of the boldness of his faith after Jesus rose from the dead.
See, we live in a world where no one wants to be wrong. Everybody wants to blame someone else, and nobody is willing to take responsibility for his or her own actions. We don’t sin; we make mistakes. And if God is good, surely He wouldn’t punish someone for making a mistake. And, after all, it’s sincerity that counts. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe it with all your heart.
So many people are convinced that is true, but the Bible is awfully clear on that subject. Jesus says over and over again that He is the resurrection and the life and that no one can reach God except through Him. Others say it about Him too, like this example with Peter. Jesus is the only Person who can stand between God and Man, because God requires perfection, and Jesus is the only perfect human to ever have walked the Earth.
Jesus is the only way.
And sort of like that one driveway into our hotel, you can keep going around in circles looking for another way in, but you aren’t going to find it. Search for meaning and life’s purpose long enough and you’ll understand that.
No religion can satisfy. No spiritual achievement can bring you true peace. No natural experience can give your life meaning. There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us, and the only way to fill it is through a relationship with Jesus.
We want all the benefits of heaven and God’s power, but we don’t want to do it His way. How fair is that? And where do we get the idea that we can actually get away with that? We tell God that He is closed-minded, exclusive, and judgmental. We accuse Him of unfairness and bigotry because He–the God who created everything–won’t bend to our paltry demands.
God isn’t cruel because He only made one way. God is merciful beyond measure because He made a way–and the cost was the life of His own Son.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a good enough person for anyone to sacrifice their life for mine–let alone Jesus Himself. But He did. And even if I’d been the only person in the world, He still would have done it. He loves me that much, and I don’t deserve it. Nobody does. But God offers us freedom with no strings attached. You just have to go through Jesus.
Going around in circles is fine. You just don’t get anywhere.
So make the choice. Keep going around and around in the circles of your life if that’s what you think is best, but at the end of your life, you’ll just end up back where you started–either you choose your own way or you choose God’s way.