Have you ever found yourself in life with paths before you and wondering which one to take? I know I have. Many times! Sometimes the options before you are small and insignificant: I couldn’t care less if I buy Colgate or Crest toothpaste…not a deal breaker…what’s on sale? But other choices are definitely more complicated because we feel the weight of our decision and how it can affect our lives: It could be what school to go to for post-grad education; What job to take to further accomplish our goals and pay the bills; Should you date this person who is interested in you; What church should you attend so that you actually grow in Christ instead of following the most popular choice? For my personality type this can be exhausting and I can get stuck in what is referred to as “analysis-paralysis” and THAT is a very apt description!
“How can we know the way?”
Such a great question! Thomas asks this of Jesus because Jesus has just told them he needs to leave them for a time and he’ll be preparing a place for them so they can stay with him for eternity. We know he is talking about heaven but Thomas is blinded by pragmatism and wants to know to what location Jesus is going. It’s as if he believes Jesus is being purposefully ambiguous. Thomas believes its a location on a map. This passage is fascinating because what Jesus is describing are the actions a groom would take in Jewish culture to prepare for his bride. A groom would save up for the wedding feast but would also be building onto his family’s home — he would add rooms on to create a separate living space for his bride and future family. What an incredible picture of Christ the groom and the church His Bride! Here is the passage (John 14:1-7)…
“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.”
We don’t know the way so how can we get to where you were or are or will be? Essentially, that’s the question I see Thomas asking. We might phrase it differently like: God, I don’t know what job You want me to take because there are multiple options…which one is Your will? OR Lord, I like this person but am I letting my emotions and hopes get the best of me…how do I know this is THE person? I’m sure you can fill in your own question that is most relevant to you. The issue we wrongfully assume is that there is a right or wrong answer. We may find ourselves consumed with fear that if we don’t guess correctly what God wants we won’t be blessed and we will enter into a life of misery apart from God. What if we travel to the wrong destination and He isn’t there? What if we choose the wrong ___________? You can fill in your blank because only you know what you are facing.
Might I suggest that we, like Thomas, have the wrong focus? If FEAR is the outcome of wrong choice perhaps we are asking the wrong question of God? If we fear His disapproval or we believe He will punish us, its a good indicator we really haven’t heard Jesus at all and we really haven’t met the heart of God. God loves us. He wants the best for us. He is on our side. We can get consumed with the issue and not realize we need to dive to the root focus we should have. Before we decide on a relationship with another person we need to be sure of our relationship with God. Before we wonder about which job is most God-honouring, we should be looking to see if our heart is God-honouring. Jesus gave Thomas a very clear answer about how to know the way to Jesus….it’s Jesus. I know. How simple is that!?
“The way” isn’t a destination or the right choice of person or correct job position or ______________. “The Way” is a person…it’s Jesus. It might take our minds a bit of trim to wrap around that but imagine with me for a moment that in order for us to know “the way” we need to know “The WAY.” What if God doesn’t care about what school you go to or vocation you take — He cares about your relationship with Him that you take wherever you go, in whatever job you decide. What if you are so passionately in love with Jesus and spend time with him that it becomes clear about the person you are wondering about dating. If you love Jesus and they don’t why would you consider that relationship. This is not a “religious” perspective. It’s a fair question. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Let’s say you have a best friend who loves you deeply and brings out the best in you. You spend time with them and find you are valued and blossom as a person just being with them. And then, you meet another person. Not only are they not interested in your best friend but have NO interest in even being near them. Would you give up your best friend for this stranger? No. You’d show them to the curb and wouldn’t look back. Perhaps the issue isn’t deciding who to have a relationship with. Perhaps the issue is how deep is our relationship with Jesus…and then go from there.
“I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The Greek emphasizes Jesus’s response that he is the ULTIMATE Way, Truth and Life. In fact, he overshadows everyone so much that there really is no other options aside from him especially if people want to come to the Father. “The Way” we seek is a place of being in relationship with Jesus. To be with Jesus, to be with the Father, is to be IN Jesus. To be able to see clearly and know how to discern, he is the unvarnished truth about life, love and happiness. He is not deceitful seeking his own ends…he loves us and wants us to know the truth not only about who he is but the dangerous deadly promises of sin (sin promises us everything without any cost when in fact it costs us everything and gives us nothing of value) and how to have true life. HE is the life…he promises and gives us new life which is not dependent upon the world and finding fulfilment in trinkets, power or sensuality. He promises life that gives purpose, power and peace beyond what the world can even imagine.
I want that. I want peace. I would like to live a life of purpose. I want God to empower me to buck the trends, be fulfilled, see other’s lives changed for their good and know love…not superficial love…but love that reaches in deep and allows them to know they are truly seen and cherished. Love that says, “No matter what you have said, are saying and will say…no matter what you have thought, are thinking and will think…no matter what you have done, are doing or will do, my love for you will never change. I love you. Period.” THAT is the love I have experienced in God. That is the love Jesus displayed and offers to you and me. That is a love that brings fulfilment and peace…because I am His beloved and you can be as well. Seek out The Way and find true peace in all your decisions. God loves YOU!