December 4, 2011
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
A few months ago on a flight from St. Louis to Chicago, I got into a religious conversation with the man sitting next to me.
During the course of our discussion he said, "Tell you what, when we get off the plane, let's go look at the board which lists the arrivals and departures." He continued: "If we do, we will soon see that if I want to get to New York from Chicago, I can take any number of airlines. Let's see, there's United and American and Delta and ...."
As a frequent flyer, his memory of the carriers and their schedules from Chicago to New York was most impressive.
The point he was trying to make was simple: just as any major airline will take you from Chicago to New York, he believed any major religion can take you from earth to heaven.
After we came off the plane, the walk to our connecting flights took us past one of those ever-changing electronic boards. Wishing to drive home his point, my temporary companion actually stopped, pointed to the board and with a sound of triumph, said, "See, there are any number of ways to get from here to New York ... and any number of religions will take me to heaven."
I couldn't argue with the first part of what he had said: there are a lot of ways to go from one big city to another.
But before we turned away from the board, I asked, "I see the name New York appearing on that board a lot of times. But I don't see 'heaven' being listed. Can you tell me which airline will take me to heaven?" He sputtered, "Don't be ridiculous. No airline can take anybody to heaven."
I observed, "Guess it's easier to get to New York than it is to heaven. Fact is, no man-made plane can make that trip to heaven, and no man-made religion is able to do it either." Before we parted I had the opportunity to share the passage that is at the head of today's devotion:
"THERE IS SALVATION IN NO ONE ELSE, FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED."
And this time it was his turn not to argue.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, every Christian is gladdened by the knowledge that You have given Yourself as the single sacrifice which forgives our sins and grants us heaven. May others be brought to see the uniqueness of Your gift of grace. In Your Name I give thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries