Is There Only One True Religion?
Yes! It is the religion of Jesus! Not a religion about Jesus, but the religion of Jesus – the religion Jesus himself practiced of selfless service to mankind and whole-souled devotion to the Father. Remember, while he is our Creator and the son of God (Colossians 1:15-16), he also lived among us as a human son of man.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
– John 1:14
As a son of man, Jesus was obliged to worship the Father in the way a man worships Him. So, one may ask: What religion was Jesus? For that is the religion we should want to belong to.
We know that he was not Baptist, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, Catholic, Mormon or any other denomination. Such religions are offshoots and derivatives of Jesus’ religion. They are various expressions of how Jesus’ religion is understood by some. Even the whole of Christianity is preceded and superseded by Jesus’ religion of ‘spiritual and true worship.’ Do we get the sense of that?
Each of these denominations is an attempt at understanding and practicing the religion of Jesus. Yet, for the most part, they are religions about Jesus. In other words, instead of looking to how Jesus worshiped, they focus on worshiping Jesus. They promote his divinity – his miracle working – and overlook his humanity – his faithfulness, his loyalty, his complete trust in the Father.
As our Creator, Jesus does accept our petitions – our prayers for help. But he does so in order to equip us to better worship the Father:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
– John 14:12-14
But he himself does not want to be worshiped. When Satan tempted Jesus to seek worship for himself:
“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
– Matthew 4:10
How unfortunate that many have sacrificed Jesus of Nazareth to even the wonderful concept of the glorified Christ. The humanity of Jesus must not be taken away from struggling man. Both aspects of our Creator must be given equal honor. He belongs to us, just as we belong to him.
Jesus of Nazareth was a religious man who, by faith, achieved the knowing and the doing of the will of God, which is to uplift and serve mankind. The people heard him gladly because he was one of them, an unpretentious layman. Yes, the world's greatest religious teacher was indeed a layman! At his baptism, the Father acknowledged:
“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
– Matthew 3:17
If we are to be approved, we must to follow his example of faith.
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
– Matthew 10:38
To ‘follow Jesus’ means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of his life of unselfish service of man. It should not be the aim of kingdom believers literally to imitate the outward life of Jesus in the flesh, but rather to share his faith; to trust God as he trusted God; and to believe in men as he believed in men.
Through his life example, he demonstrated true worship and true religion. In speaking to the apostle Thomas:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6
Thus, one of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus himself believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
– John 17:3
That, dear brothers and sisters, is true worship and true religion!