Everything seems to depend on how literally on takes the Bible, or not. Much hinges on one's understanding of who
Jesus was, and whether or not one takes him to have been
historical or not. Taken historically, it can be hard to see how
the claim "I am the way...." could refer to anything other than the personal I. But if it all means anything, this must refer to
far more than the personal self, the usually understanding of
I. Once Jesus is understood as the expression of a universal
archeotype, "I am the the way..." becomes immensely more
meaningful; the myraid contradictions with which chistianity
so often seems rife also begin to all fall away.
As for going forth and making disciples, why would God, in
his compassion for all of humankind, all of his children, have
wanted to limit to the spiritual upliftment , renewal and inspiration of the Jesus story, likely the greatest ever told,
to a mere few?
As for talking more of hell than of heaven, perhaps this was
about reflecting the extremely dysfunctional social conditions
people were living under at that time of Roman occupation
Since humans may well be "hardwired for God", dysfunctional
social conditions no doubt bring religious belief to the fore.
Belief-based religion seems to thrive under such condition, and especially under persecution.
Today however, social conditions are very different from those
of 2000 years ago. Today people are far less desperate
spiritually; today literacy is widespread and access to information is at the touch of a keyboard; today we have science to explain reality and nature.
Today's challenge to chistians is understand the Jesus story
in more esoteric and nonliteralist terms in order for it to be more deeply meaningful to, or to make more sense to, the
rationally-minded people of today.