In John 14:6 - Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” That’s what Jesus said. These are the words of a song we used to sing in church somewhere in my past. Here is a link to the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug1OrL57YhI
I can imagine Sunday school teachers or perhaps Scripture teachers
in schools drumming this into the heads of children – I can almost hear
them call out, “What did Jesus say?” And the whole class loudly
and enthusiastically responding in unison, “I am the way and the truth
and the life.” That’s what Jesus said!
Jesus said these words but what did he mean?
It seems to me that these words have often been used to exclude
people rather than to include people. We string a few texts together
and create the way to God as one that involves believing what we
believe and our interpretations rather than being open to the way to
God being defined in other ways. We narrow our definitions and back
them up with Scripture rather than pondering and wondering and
reflecting more deeply and broadly on what Jesus may have meant.
In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the
gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there
are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that
leads to life, and there are few who find it.” How often have we heard
about ‘the narrow way.’ If we take these two texts together we can
further narrow and exclusively define our understanding of the way to
God, the way to life and what is truth. I am not disputing that Jesus
said these words, but I am questioning how we interpret and
understand them and how they impact our lives and the expression of
In the passage (John 14:1-14) Jesus speaks about ‘My Father’s house.’
Jesus says, “In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place
for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again
and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
And you know the way to the place where I am going."
There is a longing in people to find their way home; whether that is expressed as a longing to be at
home with God, or to be at home with oneself, to be at peace. We seek ‘the way’ and want to live
‘the life’ and to know ‘the truth’. John O’Donohue, in his book ‘Anam Cara’ (soul friend),
gives an illustration of walking home in the dark on an Irish evening through the bleak and cold landscape
and the longing within one to gather around the warmth of the fire in the hearth of the home.
John O’Donohue says, ‘I love the image of the hearth as a place of home, a place of warmth and return.
Jesus talks about preparing a dwelling place for us with God and the possibility of return.
Then Jesus says, “And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas responds, “…we do
not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” The way to God and that eternal longing
for home is not adhering to a set of beliefs about Jesus or God, but in seeing something in Jesus,
seeing that God lives in Jesus, that they are one, if one has seen Jesus one has seen God: that God
(the Father) is working in Jesus. Through Jesus God is drawing all people home. All that Jesus does,
his works of love, of healing, of mercy and forgiveness, of inclusion and restoration, are drawing people home.
Jesus says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).
Perhaps rather than fretting about knowing ‘the way’ in words of explanation we might instead find ourselves
on that journey home as we still our ourselves and open ourselves to God coming to us and drawing us in,
rawing us home.
Prayer: Come loving God, draw me home. Draw me to yourself. Continue in me your work of love, of kindness,
of mercy and forgiveness, of healing, of inclusion and restoration; that your way and your truth and your life may
be experienced and known in the world. We pray for all who long for home. We remember especially all who are
feeling disillusioned with life and entertaining suicidal thoughts. May they be at home with you and with themselves
in this world. May your blessing rest upon all people and upon all things this day. Amen