In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
No one gets to God without Jesus’ permission. This is my interpretation, anyway. In order to pass through a gate, it must either be opened, or you must be able to supernaturally become “one” with the gate (in a chemical substance sense). Both cases can be applied to the words spoken (above) by Jesus. “Through” also means “by,” which also means “with assistance,” or “allowance”/”permission.”
Hence, Jesus is the one who allows you to enter into the presences of God the Father. And if Jesus is God (the Father–which is according to “Christianity”), then it is Jesus who lets you get to Jesus. Does this seem confusing? If so, good. I believe we are meant to contemplate these words seriously, patiently, and openly. I don’t think they are meant to be easy to understand. They take effort. Thought. Persistence. Like an onion, you peel a layer off, shed tears, then peel another layer off….and just keep going. Understanding is a lifelong (eternity long, rather) process.
So, if Jesus is the “Way, Truth, and Life,” then Jesus is the pathway/gateway, the factual reality, the existence. He is the door, the destination, and the substance–that which keeps you eternally alive. How do you get to God? Find Jesus. And how to you find Jesus? Look inside your own heart.
When Jesus addressed the Pharisees (those who only focused on outward appearances) regarding the” kingdom of God,” he told them to look within.
The Pharisees thought that God was going to come and physically “take over” Jerusalem. They kept wondering, “when is God going to come and set up his kingdom? When will the Savior come in glory and rule and reign in this land?” They pictured a physical “coup.” They thought they could confound Jesus by asking him when this time would come. As as usual, they tried to “catch” Jesus by asking him a “difficult” question. And as usual, Jesus answered with divine authority:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”(Luke 17).
Here, Jesus tells the most devout religious people (in that region) that they are misguided. They have missed the mark. God’s kingdom is not a physical realm, but a spiritual realm.
This lead me to contemplate today’s religiously devout–in particular self proclaiming “believers” in Christ. I have heard the word “Kingdom or “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” thrown around a lot by Christians…. Like a place where you get to go as a reward. A reward for what? Basically, based on what I have observed, it seems like it is reward for looking good and religious (at least on the outside). And, to be honest, the overuse of this term really annoys me:
“… I do this for the Kingdom…I do that for the Kingdom…” “You need to do this for the Kingdom…I need to do that for the Kingdom…” And so on, and so on, and so on….
Furthermore, I was raised with this notion that “Christians” needed to “win souls” (in other words get people to “believe in Christ.” If Christians made more Christians, then the”Kingdom” would grow, and fewer people would go to “hell” when they (physically) died–at least that was the message. It is also known as “saving souls.”
Why save souls? Doesn’t that point back to our own ego? Does it not make us “Heroes for Christ”? Moreover, what does it mean to truly “believe”? Are our beliefs not really tested by our actions? Jesus said that the true test was how you treated people: whatever you do to others you are really doing to Jesus (Matthew 25:40). The bottom line is how you treat people–the “least”–the outcast, the disenfranchised, the odd, the marginalized, the “different,” the rejected.
I can say that I believe in Christ, but if my actions do not match up to His actions and His teachings, it is just cheap talk. So, the more important questions, is, then, not whether or not I “say” I am a Christian or “follower of Christ,” or “believe” in Jesus, but whether or not I actually FOLLOW Jesus Christ in my actions.
To that end, when Jesus speaks of the Kingdom, he does not speak of a place where you go if you “say” you believed in and followed a man named Jesus. Contrarily, he spoke (several times) of the “Kingdom of God” as being in the HERE and NOW. He spoke of the Kingdom as a present-day realm entered by those who lack ego and express need, dependence, and faith in a loving Power/Authority….
So, if you feel like your life is falling apart and you just “couldn’t get it right”; if you feel rejected for trying to do the “right” thing; or if you feel lost and in need of more than this world has to offer…then, my friend, you are in a very good place: The Kingdom of God.
God–(pure love and pure egoless-ness personified through Jesus Christ)– can only dwell where your ego does not exist. Our egos are a protection mechanism and they are really fear based. And since fear and love cannot co-exist, ego and Love cannot co-exist. So, when you can stand (or, rather, think you can stand) on your own wisdom, “good deeds,” good (“godly”) appearances, “worldly” (exciting) experiences/intellect, don’t expect to stand in the presence of God.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom Heaven….blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven…” (Matthew 5).
Note: Jesus does not say, “for theirs WILL BE…. He says, “THEIRS IS.” If you are poor in spirit–if your spirit is lacking, longing, hungry, impoverished. If you realize that there has to be more to this life. If your spirit is not satisfied with what the world has to offer, and your spirit longs for something more–congratulations! You are in the kingdom of heaven. You own it. It is yours.
Interestingly, in our society, (and for that matter, in our “Christian” religion) we tout going around and telling people about Jesus and the “Kingdom” in order to somehow relieve their suffering–the truth is, they are most likely the ones who are already in the Kingdom. They are closest to the Truth. They are closest to the King–the king who broke through the illusions of the world–the illusions about God;the King who came as pure love and light and let the arrogant religious brutally place him (the innocent) on a cross next to convicted criminals. I would say that was a pretty ego-less act of God.
Imagine, the God of the universe letting the arrogant and greedy kill him. If you claim to be a “born again” Christian, this is what you believe. Because the heart of Christianity is the belief that Jesus (Christ) is God. So, if God let go of his ego through Jesus, and the only way for us to get to God is through Jesus, would it not then be logical to conclude that in order to get to God/Jesus you must lose your ego?
For those who say that if you are not a “Christian” then you are going to hell, I challenge you to take another look at Jesus’ words. Jesus condemns two types of people: the religiously arrogant (those who work hard to look outwardly good) and those who use religion to get rich. (This sounds strangely like much modern-day organized Christianity).
Jesus says that you get to the Father through him, but does he say that you have wear a t-shirt with a cross on it? He does not say that you have to repeat again and again “Jesus,” aloud in order to get into His Kingdom. If Jesus is who he says he is, then he cares about ACTIONS not mere WORDS.
Could it be that you get to the Father with His permission? Could it be that Jesus looks at your heart and your actions then decides if he will let you closer?
If you want to “do something for the Kingdom,” do this: allow yourself to enter The Kingdom by looking within your own heart.
Meditate on your motives, your actions towards others, and your willingness to let go of outward appearances and opinions. LET YOUR STUPID EGO DIE.
Seek to care about what Jesus cares about. Let an egoless man who broke all of the religious rules of his day rule your heart. Let only one opinion matter: God’s opinion. Jesus Christ’s opinion. And ask yourself (as mentioned in a prior blog of mine) would I do that to Jesus? Trust me, you will enter a whole new “realm” (kingdom) here and now. Your questions about life and existence are with in your own heart (Luke 17:20-21).
When we stop obsessing on the world outside of us and turn our gaze to your own heart, there we will find the Way, the Truth, and The Life. The Pathway is the Destination is the Reality. He is here. He is now. He is pure love and humility. He is Jesus. He is God. Let this Love rule your heart. Let’s ALL work on not making a mockery of Christ (God) by saying we “love Jesus” then living selfish and egotistical lives. To serve and love God is to serve and love the Master of all Humiliation and Suffering. To serve This Master, we must also identify/commune with Him through our own suffering. We must reflect on our own realities and choices, and we must mourn over our human mistakes. It is then, I believe, that Jesus gives us permission to come closer to His heart. And Jesus will enter yours. Look within and create space for the Door, the Destination, the Reality of all existence.
Prayer: Lord Jesus you are the answer to every question. You are the existence, the pathway, the destination. Right now, be the King of my heart. Amen.
Matthew 6: 32-34 reads, “32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”