“You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:4 (NIV)
I am grateful for a good sense of direction. If I go somewhere once I can usually find my way there again. On occasion my GPS in my car wants to lead me to my destination by a circuitous route. I disobey its commands and go the more direct way that I know is correct. Therefore I will hear it say numerous times, “Recalculating”. But, I must admit that sometimes it is right and I am wrong!
In our passage of John 14 we hear Jesus comforting the confused disciples. He was seeking to educate them on what was going to happen and expected them to be settled down by having the information. Ignorance breeds fear while knowledge sheds light. What He said in our verse for today was in response to Peter’s question in John 13:36. There Peter asked Jesus where He was going that they could not follow.
What Jesus shared with the disciples to calm them down was the fact that they had been taught by Him various times what the true way was. In John 10:7, 9; 12:26, 50; Matthew 11:27, 28 and elsewhere Jesus made it clear to the disciples that He was the way to the Father. It was Jesus Himself and His teaching that brought people to God.
What a stupendous claim for anyone to make. If a person today suggested that they were the only way to God we would dismiss them as a lunatic. But in Jesus’ day the reaction was usually one of hatred, fear or adoration. People reacted violently to what Jesus said about Himself or else they accepted His witness and worshipped Him. See Matthew 2:11 Luke 24:52; John 9:38; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:8-14, for several places where Jesus received worship. Yet, in Luke 4:8 Jesus taught that God alone is to be worshipped and served.
Thomas spoke up when Jesus said that they knew the way to where He was going. In John 14:5 Thomas suggested that the disciples did not know this way that Jesus was talking about nor did they know His destination. The few times that we see Thomas in the Gospels he always seems a little out of his depth. For example he is the one who would not believe Jesus was alive from the dead until he saw Him for himself. John 20:25
We all need to hear a man like Thomas so that any uncertainties in the message of Jesus can be cleared up for us. When Thomas comes out with his question Jesus comes back with a remarkable statement that has made people angry through the centuries since.
What Jesus said that still makes people angry was, “I, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
Jesus makes the statement emphatic by twice saying the pronoun “I”. His claim is exclusive and in today’s politically correct society that is not acceptable. However, Jesus did not come in order to be acceptable to people but to make people acceptable to God.
It is so very important that we see Jesus as unique, one of a kind, like no other who ever walked on earth. If we see Him as God in human form and totally able to bring us to God, then we have the heart of the matter. We will be willing to entrust Him with our lives however messed up our lives are, however humble and lacking we may seem to be.
But we must believe He is the Lord from heaven. We must accept Him as the only way to the Father regardless of how politically incorrect that seems to our friends and neighbours. We must be convinced that He rose from the dead after dying for sinners. If we accept Him for what He claims to be then we shall find the peace that goes beyond understanding.
If we do not accept the comfort Jesus offers then we are left to our own wits and devices to comfort ourselves and find the strength to endure.
But Jesus invites all of us to come and find rest in Him. Will you come? Come and come now.