September 20, 2015
Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
One of the great challenges of being a preacher or teacher is saying things so people can understand.
Of course, you don't have to take my word about that. Recently, I met a fifth-grade teacher from one of our parochial schools. She told me about an experiment she had conducted in her class. In that experiment she had given her class the first half of some common proverbs and sayings.
These were expressions which she, and most of us adults, know by heart.
Then she asked her students to complete those sayings. The results were most interesting. For example, you know, it is "better to be safe than sorry." But a fifth-grader thinks it is better to be safe than "punch an eighth-grader" -- different ending, but equally true. Here are some of the other things the teacher collected:
* When she gave the opening line, "It's always darkest before ..." one student finished the line by writing, "It's always darkest before Daylight Savings Time."
* The teacher said, "Don't bite the hand that ..." and the student finished: "Don't bite the hand that looks dirty."
* The teacher said, "A miss is as good as ..." and the student finished, "A miss is as good as a mister"
* She said, "You can't teach an old dog new ..." and the student wrote, "You can't teach an old dog new math."
* To a fifth-grader, "A penny saved ..." became "A penny saved is not much."
* I know how you'd finish: "Children should be seen and not ...." Well, a fifth-grader says, "Children should be seen and not spanked or grounded." It all proves there are two ways of looking at such things.
The same can be said about Jesus. There are two ways of looking at Him. You can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, believe on Him as God's Son, your divine Substitute, who has conquered sin and Satan so that you might have salvation, or you can believe Jesus is somebody else, somebody less.
That bears repeating: Jesus Christ is your saving Substitute or He is somebody less.
He will be your Lord of life or He will be relegated to the ranks of being a mere tutor and teacher, a friend and philosopher, or maybe even a fake and a fraud. What He means to you depends upon your heart and the successful work of the Holy Spirit.
We started out this message with fifth-graders finishing up familiar expressions. We end it with you filling in a familiar statement of Jesus. Without fear of contradiction, we say there is only way it can be done rightly: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except _____ _____."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Holy Spirit has given me faith in the world's only Savior. May my life be an ongoing expression of praise to Your love, His sacrifice and victory. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries