There was a certain king who held a revelry for his honorable men and councils. The king wanted to take advantage of this auspicious gathering to familiarize himself with the happenings in the four corners of his expansive kingdom. Most of the nobles and governors did not know their king and this event would serve them too.
One of the nobles who lived to the Far East set out to attend the festivity. He mounted his horse and rode fast and furious headed to the Midlands. The unforgiving terrain and condition of the road conspired to slow him down. But enthusiasm and expectations fired him on. He was unsure of the correct route to the king’s palace, but his ambitions ignited his spirit like a rocket.
On his way, a farmer offered him peanuts and said, “Here is some food for your journey Lord.”
The man replied in brazenness, “I am about to eat rare gourmet food – I have no use for peanuts! Give them to monkeys and mice.”
He then threw the peanuts in the mud and left in dash. Half a mile later, he ran into a river that was more torrid than usual. He made up his mind to turn back and head home as it emerged that he could not cross it lest he die. The nobility could not ask for directions from the peasantry. The custom passed down generations could not be broken.
On his way back, the daylight gave way to evening darkness and hunger pangs started to ravage his stomach. He craved for food. Remembering the peanuts he had tossed into the mud earlier, he had no choice but to laboriously pick them from the mud one by one for his dinner.
Romans and their a thousand routes: all roads lead to Rome!
The Romans had an elaborate network of roads that could not be compared to any other. They marched on their unmatched roads as they moved from a Republic to an Empire. From the onset, the road networks were part of the necessary projects taken by the Romans. These road complexes were crucially vital as they guaranteed a militarily and economically thriving realm. The extensive networks were as important to the functioning of the empire as is blood capillaries to humans.
Engineers and Historians tell us that Roman roads were the best in the prevailing time and space. They also came with road signs and motels. Thus travelers were assured of changing their horses, resting, and not getting lost. Soldiers patrolled the roads for safety, though this did not guarantee a hundred per cent security against the highway men.
The roads were mostly straight making it possible for a traveler to cover about 120 kilometers in a day. That is like from Nakuru Town to Burnt Forest; pretty a distance.
Augustus Caesar polished the road and sanitary systems of the Empire. These, together with other undertakings, ushered in Pax Romana. By the time of Jesus, Rome was a powerhouse. One could access Rome from Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Nicaea, Carthage, Constantinople, Ephesus, Smyrna.
The lost compass.
Have you ever taken on a road and ended up in unintended place? Can you imagine a time when GPS was a mirage? But even in this age of advanced technolgy, one can still get lost. It is only last year, 2016, when Israel soldiers were led astray by their smartphone navigation app, Waze, and found themselveles in West Bank. This mistake would cost the life of one Palestinian. We should bear in mind that Israel has one of the world’s most advanced technolgies.
Sometimes we take a route fully persuaded that we are on truck to destiny later on to realize that we lost it from the word go. To make it worse, one can easily bump into some kind of danger; perhaps cutthroats!
No one wants to be led down the garden path. None of us want to walk into a trap. Nobody would want to go the whole hog only to find out that he lost it long ago. No one wants to be taken to the cleaners. Despite our wishes, the worldviews around us keep baying for our blood. They keep calling for attention. Our naivete oils the engine of malice and falsehood.
It is within us to want to know the truth and pursue it. But somehow we miss it. There are many competing and conflicting worldviews. They come packaged in truth wrappers but falsehood is to be found within.
Jesus the Way
The Book of John gives an account whereby Jesus made one of the most ground shaking statements. The statement has far-reaching ramifications because it comes up as a stumbling block to many. In John 16:4, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
By saying this Jesus was either purely arrogant, psychotic or a genius. He was arrogant to declare that He is the only way to the Father. Is He telling us that there can never be any other way?
He was psychotic to make such a statement. How can a mere man say He is the way to the Father unless his brain is bubbling with lunacy?
He was a Genius because by this statement it appears He knew something that we do not know. The works He did testifies of His genius. He knew the truth for He was the Truth.
By this statement Jesus plainly excluded contrary worldviews. Truth claims made that conflict His teachings should be treated as suspect. If there is any other way to the Father, then that way is running counter to the Jesus’. Truth is selective in nature. It is objective in the sense that it can only exist in exclusion. It cannot share a table with anything else that is incompatible. For example heat causes objects to expand. Cold does the opposite. We cannot say heat can cause expansion at the same time contraction.
Thus truth is not just what I believe in but what corresponds to reality. Mosquitoes, and not praying mantis, are agents of Malaria transmission. My sincere convictions that praying mantis are responsible for malaria will not change this basic truth.
This simple explanation does not get us out of the wood. Rather it opens up more questions: Who was Jesus? How can we know His claims are true?
Answering these fundamental questions is important, but the decision that follows after answering these questions is very important.
What if my beliefs are false? What if my practices are tomfooleries?
Disclaimer: This blog post does not provide simple answers to complex questions of life. It rather provoke us to prayerfully and critically examine our worldviews with an aim of reaching an objective conclusion and making a sober decision about following Jesus. Feel free to reach me for personal discussion.