Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In John 13, after Judas left the Last Supper to betray Jesus, Jesus made two pointed statements: First he said, “I am going away, to a place where you cannot come” (John 13:33) and then he said, “I give you a new command: love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
Which statement do you think Peter wanted to discuss? How he could love his brothers better? Or where Jesus was going that Peter wasn’t invited? Peter said to Jesus, “I’m your disciple. You can’t go places I won’t follow. I’ll go anywhere with you even if I die doing it.” But Jesus said, “Really? I think by tomorrow morning you will say you don’t even know me.”
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “I’m going away to prepare a place for you. You know where I am going and how to get there.” Thomas said, “Hold it, we don’t know where you’re going and we don’t know the way to get there.”
Jesus replied, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
What did Jesus mean,“I am the way, the truth and the life?” Did he mean that the truth is available in the scriptures? Did he locate truth in Paul’s doctrinal statements in the New Testament? Or did he really mean he was the way and the truth and the life?
Jesus’ statement addresses three problems the disciples had. We modern followers share these problems. Let’s look at them.
- The first problem is this: Peter was confident he had the commitment and courage to follow Jesus anywhere, any time, into whatever lay ahead. Peter’s path, his way was to go where Jesus was planning to go. Our modern version of the way is to read the New Testament and do what it tells us to do. But at the last supper, Jesus didn’t say to Peter, “Follow me.” He said, “I am the way.” It was not enough for Peter to trace Jesus’ footsteps. It is not enough for us just to do what we’re told. If Jesus himself is the way, we need to participate in him, not just obey his commands.
- Second, Thomas wanted a clear statement of the truth. Just like today we want the right interpretation of scripture and the right doctrinal statement. But Jesus said, “I am the truth.” What Jesus offered Thomas was not an infallible book or a carefully constructed belief system. The truth Jesus offered is himself. He is the truth. To learn the truth, we need to share in Jesus’ life, not just agree with statements he or others made.
- Third, the disciples wanted life. Peter said he was prepared even to sacrifice his life to follow Jesus, perhaps hoping for a gift of resurrection like Lazarus recently received. But what Jesus offered him was not a concrete and external gift of something called “life”. Instead, Jesus invited the disciples as he invites us to find life by sharing his life. “I am the life,” he said. “It’s me you’re looking for.”
Jesus, it is a mystery how you can be the way and the truth and the life for us today. For the way, want a clear map, like Google provides. For the truth, we want a rational and systematic statement of what to believe. For the life we live, we want success and comfort.
Jesus, we give up our view of how the way and the truth and the life should work. We come instead to you. Share yourself with us, until you are our only truth, our only way, and all our life.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.