“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NRSV
I think it was Baseball Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra, who said, “If you see a fork in the road, take it.” Nice try, Yogi, but left or right, north or south, or east and west. It’s all so confusing finding the right way with Yogi.
Life has many choices. Before making a decision on which way to go, we study and plan and then move forward expecting we made the right choice. But sometimes we just say we’ll go this way and hope for the best.
There are many choices and decisions we make in this life. Some choices lead to wonderful results while others lead to sorrow, pain, and the proverbial “we wish we hadn’t done it that way.”
Recently I saw a commercial from the “My Pillow Guy,” Mike Lindell, who has just written a book about his life. His life was a mess with too much alcohol and drugs until he was converted to Christianity. Since that epiphany, his life has changed with faith in Christ. Now he lives with hope and direction which he never had before. Mike made a decision to live for Christ. Now he travels on a road still with pitfalls and temptations, but he doesn’t travel that road alone. Christ’s presence is with him so that he does not fall back with decisions which lead to doom and despair.
Making a meaningful decision on which way to go in life was something Jesus talked about to His disciples as He headed toward the cross. In today’s gospel reading from John 14, Jesus told His disciples to not be troubled because He would prepare a place for them in His Father’s house. A bit confused, Thomas spoke up and asked Jesus where He was going. Fair enough. Thomas was seeking clarity, direction, and focus for his life so he could make good choices and wise decisions.
That’s when Jesus spoke the words we remember so well in His answer to Thomas. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
So Jesus is the way. Following in His way leads to an abundant life. But what is this way? It is one of belief in Him as the Word made flesh who gives us grace upon grace. It is belief in Jesus that He is our Good Shepherd who guides and protects us. It is Jesus Who is the Vine and we are the branches. From Jesus we receive the juice of life which sweetens and makes meaningful the way we live. It is following Jesus with a cross-shaped life so that we serve and sacrifice with Christ’s love in our lives. And that love makes serving those in need and sacrificing our time and talent for others meaningful and joyful.
What happens when we don’t follow the way of Jesus? We follow ways of life which get us in trouble – ways of greed, ways to cheat, ways to exploit – all of which end in tragedy and chaos. In the end it is a dreary and destructive way of life where no joy and no peace can be found. Who wants to live like that?
So Jesus is the truth. “In him there is no darkness at all,” to quote a line from the hymn, “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light.” In Jesus there is no darkness of falsehood or deception. Jesus called the evil one, the “father of lies.” Lies indeed cover a multitude of sins, but in the end lies lead to no authenticity in life. Lies lead to a life where people avoid you and cannot trust you and in the end you are miserable with loneliness and isolation. Who wants to live like that?
Lies are in the news today. Did former FBI Director, James Comey really lie and cover up a scheme to find General Flynn guilty of a crime against the US government? All charges against General Flynn have now been dropped by the Department of Justice. This certainly makes us wonder about the leadership this former director in the DOJ.
But isn’t Jesus also the truth? Jesus is one with His Heavenly Father. He is the One Who brings us light and life. Millions have followed Him since His death and resurrection throughout centuries and throughout the world. If there was no truth in Jesus, His movement would failed within a generation.
So Jesus is the life. Jesus gave life and healing to the man born blind as He touched his eyes and they were healed. That healed man believed that Jesus was more than a faith healer, more than a prophet, and finally he believed in Jesus as the Son of Man.
Doesn’t Jesus, the Word made flesh, give us abundant life filled with peace and joy because He gave Himself on the cross for our sake and rose triumphantly from the grave? Doesn’t Jesus forgive us from the threatening dangers of our sins which heals our restless souls? Doesn’t Jesus give us an abundant life as the Holy Spirit daily forgives our sins and raises us up to new life in Christ?
With Jesus there is life now which helps us to recognize His good gifts and thank Him for them. Without Jesus there is no life; there is no making sense of our lives; and life is a meaningless journey not knowing which road to take to make the best decisions.
What should every seeker know? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
“Christ the Life of All the Living” is an Easter hymn calling us sing of the Christ Who gives us life in Him:
“Christ, the life of all the living,
Christ, the death of death, our foe;
who Thyself for me once giving
to the darkest depths of woe,
patiently didst yield Thy breath
but to save my soul from death;
praise and glory ever be,
blessed Jesus, unto Thee.”
Thanks be to God.
(Christ the Life of All the Living” text in public domain at hymnary.com; photo of Christ Pantokrator Mosaic in Byzantine Style, from Cefalu Cathedral in Sicily, Italy, c. 1130 from wikipedia)