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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

The way, the truth, and the life

(Jesus said to his disciples):“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 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.” 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 know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” ~ John 14:1-14

This has often been used as an exclusionary text. When I was in my orientation class for Seminary, a woman in the group got very upset when she was told we would be learning about other religions. She quoted this passage from Jesus, "I am the way and the truth and the life" and said that Jesus was the only way to get to heaven so we shouldn't be listening to what other religions had to say.

Of course part of this was her assumption that the Christian faith is just about getting to heaven. And it is easy to see why. Jesus does talk about preparing a place for his disciples.

But is that all following Jesus is about?

The early Christians, as I've said here before, were called "People of the Way." What kind of "way?"

A way of loving. A way of following. A way of believing. A way of loving.

A way of living. Not just then. But now.

Jesus pointed the way to life, and his followers got a first hand, close up look at what life was for Jesus.

Sure, Jesus talks about preparing a place for his disciples. And he tells them not to be troubled. These words have become so comforting to those who have lost loved ones, that this has become one of the most used readings at funerals.

But Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life is about so much more. It is about living with the hope and the promise of abundant life now; of living a resurrected life; a repentant life.

A forgiving and loving life.

When that is the life we are leading, then we will well and truly know Jesus and the Father.

Show me the way, Lord, and help me to live my life in that way in truth and in love. Amen

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