Links Daily Devotional

Along the Way, Part 1

And a highway will be there;

  it will be called the Way of Holiness;

  it will be for those who walk on that Way. (Isaiah 35:8, ESV)

The interesting thing about walking a golf course is that there is no designated path. Most any route will do, as long as you get to your ball and play your next shot in a timely fashion. But since golf is a walk in the park of sorts, sometimes it’s nice to detour under the trees or soak up the sun in the middle of the fairway, even if it’s a bit out of the way to where you are headed.

The early disciples of Jesus, those who comprised the early Christian church, called themselves followers of the Way. Saul of Tarsus, who would become the apostle Paul, hunted those “belong to the Way” and assigned to them persecution, even persecution leading to death.

What was this Way, and why did Jesus’ people choose it as their name?

The Way had origins in the prophecies of Isaiah, more than 700 years before the coming of Jesus. Like other Old Testament prophets, Isaiah was called out of obscurity and took up a role unpopular with people but adherent to God. He revealed the heart of God, particularly for the worship and obedience of Israel. But his words also carried the promises of God for those who believed. Chief among these promises was the salvation of Israel.

This salvation, however, was not to be delivered to all who called themselves “Israel”—that is, to all who possessed Jewish heritage. Rather, it was promised to “the redeemed,” set against “wicked fools.” For the former, “everlasting joy will crown their heads” (Isaiah 53:8-10).

But this passage of Isaiah’s prophecy began with the picture of a Way of Holiness. Those who were promised eternity would get there via this Way.

All of this should drive you to remember Jesus’ words of exclusivity in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except though me.” Jesus certainly knew the prophecies, and as he often did he drew from them here. The Way of Holiness is the Way of Jesus. It is the only path to eternity.

The apostles took up this refrain. Peter spoke boldly to those leaders who were resisting the Way, saying, “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).

If we want heaven, if we want eternity with the God who made us, we can’t come up with our own ideas or implement our own designs for getting there any more than we can walk on to the first tee of a private club and declare, “I belong here according to my own rules of membership!” God has built our eternal dwellings and he has set the terms and conditions by which we may enter. We must walk the Way. And that Way is the Way of Jesus.

Tomorrow: The holiness in our walk

Jeff Hopper
August 27, 2014
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