From what I can tell, Luke refers to Christianity as “The Way” five different times. In each of these occurrences, Christianity is being compared (directly or indirectly) to a pagan, temple-based Greco-Roman religion or to Judaism. It’s so neat to see how this wasn’t an accident. Think about how regimented and strict the orthodoxy is for each of these religions. Because they are temple-based, there is a step-by-step approach to how and when the “sacraments” are to be completed. Christianity was originally set in opposition to this. That’s why it was given an alternate name like “The Way.”
The original Greek word (hodos) has four common meanings: the way, the road, the journey, conduct. Think about how significant this is. Christianity is the way . . . to what? It’s the road . . . leading to where? It’s the journey . . . which ends when? It’s the conduct . . . of whom? Let’s try to answer these questions.
- Christianity is “The Way” to God through Christ. It’s also “The Way” for God to redeem us through Christ.
- Christianity is “The Road” that leads to a relationship with God.
- Christianity is “The Journey” that involves me walking hand in hand with the One who rescued me and ends when I get home.
- Christianity is “The Conduct” that I exhibit that leads me to live a Godly life.
To frame our “religion” in this context and allow it to resonate in our lives, forces us into a paradigm shift that completely alters our perspective and our relationship with God. We quickly move from being a part of a religion of doing and into a movement of being. You see, instead of being a temple based religion where we come at designated times to offer our sacrifice, we live a life that is a sacrifice; and we come together as a community or family to offer our worship to the one who makes the journey possible.
The more I understand this concept, the more my relationship with God grows. Do you see the connection? Do you see the difference? Luke didn’t choose to use that word (hodos) on accident. He was communicating to the audience of Acts exactly what this new “sect” or “religion” was all about. What he communicated was that it was nothing like any religion they had ever seen. It wasn’t like Judaism or any pagan religion.
Think about this the next time you say to yourself (or your kids), “it’s time for Church”. Or you answer the question, “what’s your religion”? Or the next time you find yourself defining your religion by what you do on Sunday and Wednesday. Instead, let’s focus on thinking in terms of our Conduct and the progress we’re making on our Journey, Way or Road “home.”