The Only Path

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me. JOHN 14:6

Tolerance. A prized virtue today. The ability to be understanding of those with whom you differ is a sign of sophistication. Jesus, too, was a champion of tolerance:

• Tolerant of the disciples when they doubted.
• Tolerant of the crowds when they misunderstood.
• Tolerant of us when we fall.

But there is one area where Jesus was intolerant. There was one area where he was unindulgent and dogmatic.…

As far as he was concerned, when it comes to salvation, there aren’t several roads … there is only one road.… There aren’t several paths … there is only one path. And that path is Jesus himself.

That is why it is so hard for people to believe in Jesus. It’s much easier to consider him one of several options rather than the option. But such a philosophy is no option.

A Gentle Thunder

We too are lepers

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.” Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves.

When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it.

Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.

What comfort does the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state! Stripping comes before clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in building—and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner, utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and come as thou art to Jesus—

“For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,
As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all.
‘Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:
While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge.”

Immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness

“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.” (Mark 1:12.)

IT seemed a strange proof of Divine favor. “Immediately.” Immediately after what? After the opened heavens and the dove-like peace and the voice of the Father’s blessing, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It is no abnormal experience. Thou, too, hast passed through it, O my soul. Are not the times of thy deepest depression just the moments that follow thy loftiest flight? Yesterday thou wert soaring far in the firmament, and singing in the radiance of the morn; today thy wings are folded and thy song silent. At noon thou wert basking in the sunshine of a Father’s smile; at eve thou art saying in the wilderness, “My way is hid from the Lord.”

Nay, but, my soul, the very suddenness of the change is a proof that it is not revolutionary.

Hast thou weighed the comfort of that word “immediately”? Why does it come so soon after the blessing? Just to show that it is the sequel to the blessing. God shines on thee to make thee fit for life’s desert-places—for its Gethsemanes, for its Calvaries. He lifts thee up that He may give thee strength to go further down; He illuminates thee that He may send thee into the night, that He may make thee a help to the helpless.

Not at all times art thou worthy of the wilderness; thou art only worthy of the wilderness after the splendors of Jordan. Nothing but the Son’s vision can fit thee for the Spirit’s burden; only the glory of the baptism can support the hunger of the desert.—George Matheson.

After benediction comes battle.

The time of testing that marks and mightily enriches a soul’s spiritual career is no ordinary one, but a period when all hell seems let loose, a period when we realize our souls are brought into a net, when we know that God is permitting us to be in the devil’s hand. But it is a period which always ends in certain triumph for those who have committed the keeping of their souls to Him, a period of marvelous “nevertheless afterward” of abundant usefulness, the sixty-fold that surely follows.—Aphra White.