If any notable expert on human flourishing (or inspiring life coach) said to you, “Look, I am the key; know me and everything else will fall into place.” You would think they were certifiably crazy or downright evil, or both. You would say that was outrageous kind of talk. That’s Kanye on Twitter, not reality. But this is what Jesus does. Jesus always pushes His listeners to be polarized by Him. He pushes the controversy. You will either crown Him or kill Him. There is no in between.
He wants you to consider if He is true or if He is false. No place for centrist, fence-saddling here.
Everyone is willing to live for a truth, a cause. Be it security, holdings, bling, family, artistic or intellectual fulfillment, provision, justice, homelessness, or dismantling racist policies—you live (and, perhaps, in the most passionate circumstances, die) for important truths. Live long enough and you also will have discovered that those truths and causes have no power to turn around and love, console, or heal you. Truths and causes become colder as you age. They dissipate somewhat. Ok, a lot. You can never meet the expectations of truth and huge causes. You begin to slip; you wear out. By themselves, truth and causes will ultimately destroy you.
Some abandon causes and truth for this very reason, so you might begin to say, “It’s all about people; it’s all about relationships; it’s all about family. Do the loving thing! Family first!” It sounds good, but as time goes by you discover the very people who have the capacity to love us aren’t’ true. Loves fail us—be they friends, spouses, coworkers, children, leaders, gurus, or others.
When Jesus says I AM the way, the truth, and the life, He is the truth that can turn around and heal; He is the love that is always true. He is the person who loves truly and the truth that loves. That is outrageous. And you’ll either crown or kill someone who talks like that.