by Dcn. Ron Christolear
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-17
As our reading begins, Jesus is addressing his coming death on the cross. He no doubt senses the disciples’ fear, and he tells them, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Jesus is telling his disciples to trust in God and to trust in him. This fear may be predicated on the fact that the typical Jewish believer, which most likely included the disciples, had expected the Messiah to be a King who would come into the world to free Israel from Roman oppression. As time went on, the disciples began to see that this was not Jesus’ mission.
So it must have been both confusing and frightening to hear Jesus talking about death. Jesus, sensing their fear makes a promise, “I am going to prepare a place for you.” Jesus is giving them the promise that they are not being abandoned. Jesus even tells them, “You know the way to where I am going.” Thomas then exclaims, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus answers Thomas’ questions with a declaration that should calm the hearts of every person who has come to faith in him. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus is making a bold statement of exclusivity. It is reminiscent of the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Just as God was declaring his exclusivity as God, Jesus is declaring his exclusivity as the only way to access to that same God. Peter declares of Jesus in Acts 4:12, “and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” When Jesus speaks the words “be not troubled,” he is not only talking to the disciples standing before him, but to all who would call on his name over the centuries. We need not fear the future, in this life or the life to come.
Do you want to know the way to the Father? Look to Jesus. Do you want to know the truth of the Father? Look to Jesus. Do you want to have life, now and in the presence of Father? Look to Jesus.
As we come to the close of the season of Lent and prepare our hearts for Holy Week, and as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we can know that Jesus is The Way, and The Truth, and The life not only because he tells us, which in itself is sufficient, but because he proves it through his death, burial, and resurrection.
Dcn. Ron ministers at Trinity Anglican Church