One Way Out
by James Robison
You're on the top floor and the building is burning. You don't know which way to go: the stairs, the elevator, the roof, a window? Which door do you take to get to a hallway that's not on fire?
With the smoke, the confusion and the sense of urgency, it is hard to know what to do. You don't know how much time you have and the wrong turn could be disastrous. Suddenly, a man shouts, "I know which way to go. Follow me!"
What do you do? If the person is a complete stranger, you won't know whether or not to believe him. If he is ignorant, it would be foolish to follow him. If the man set the fire himself, then it would dangerous to listen to anything he said. But if the man is the architect of the building and an expert on fire safety, not only would you believe him, but you would do exactly what he said because you'd know that your life depended on it.
"Go down this narrow hallway. Don't turn right or left. Go directly through the blue door that says 'Emergency Exit,'" he says with urgency. Again, how do you respond? Would you argue with him? Ask him why he knows so much about exiting the building? Tell him that you know a dozen other ways to get out?
Again, if you knew his impeccable reputation, you would know that he was attempting to save your life. You wouldn't think him arrogant, rude or cruel for telling you exactly what to do. You would probably thank him and rush to comply with his instructions. And if someone else refused to listen and died in the fire, you wouldn't blame the architect.
This is exactly how I view Jesus Christ. He is the Architect and Designer of this world, yet it's in danger. Sin is burning it to the ground. We are all trapped and there is only one way out.
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," Jesus said in John 14:6. Not only does He know the way, He is the way. Do you want to live? Get with Jesus Christ!
A lot of people want to stop and argue. They want to convince you that any exit will do, as if they can see through the smoke. Some will tell you that it doesn't matter what you do because nobody gets out alive -- the building will burn and we will all die anyway! A few will tell you that the building is not even on fire, despite the fact that they're sweating and people are dying all around.
If you don't think that this world is on fire, just look around. Death and destruction are at your door. Evil abounds. Nobody is immune from pain. The real question is this: Who is Jesus Christ? Is He really the architect or is He a fraud? Perhaps He was just a nice guy who didn't really know what he was talking about.
C.S. Lewis addressed this when he pointed out that Jesus was either "lord, liar or lunatic." If he was a delusional cult leader who really believed he was God, then he was crazy and we need not bother with him. If he was a crafty, egocentric deceiver, then he was more akin to the devil than God and must be exposed. But if he was neither of these, then He can only be what He claimed to be: the Son of God sent to make a way for us to live eternally with our Heavenly Father. He lived a perfect life, setting the matchless example while conquering sin and the grave.
In this burning building called Earth, we must all decide: Who is Jesus? Obviously, the best way to answer that question is to get to know Him. We do that by reading His words, attempting to dialogue with Him and talking to others who know him (although this can provide mixed results, since people are fallible.)
We don't know how much time we have, so it's urgent that we decide whether to follow Him or plunge into the confusion on our own. If He really is the architect, then we must believe Him when He claims that there is only one way to life. Otherwise, we discard him as crazy or deceitful. If we choose to not follow Him, we can't blame Him when we find ourselves at a dead end or surrounded by flames. And we can't call Him unkind or unmerciful when other people don't listen to Him. His instructions are clear, but it's our choice to heed his words.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the real deal. He knows the building (our lives), knows the nature of fire (sin) and the only way out (Himself). I'm following Him down that narrow pathway and I know I'm safe. I hope you'll follow, too.