Chapter 14:1-14 (ESV) - “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.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? 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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Question to consider: What does Jesus mean when He says He is the way, the truth and the life?
In order for someone to be able to reconcile all of the religions on a Coexist bumper sticker, he would need to strip every unique tenet away from each one until all he had left was a man-centered philosophy to love other people— not for the sake of God but to live together without conflict. Anything to do with the nature of god or gods and our relationship to him/her/them is what prevents fundamental adherents to these religions from coexisting peacefully.
Today’s passage is one where Christ explicitly drew a line in the sand. On one level, the language Jesus used regarding Himself was mysterious. Whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father? I am in the Father and the Father is in me? I don’t think there is a way we can completely comprehend how Jesus could be in the Father and of the Father while being a separate person from the Father, and yet this is what Christ revealed to His disciples. As someone who is not God and doesn’t have the universe completely figured out, I’m okay leaving it as a mystery and accepting that Jesus knew what He was talking about and was being truthful when He gave the disciples the assurance that He would go to the Father and prepare a place for them.
The most important thing Jesus said in this discourse was that the path to this place of eternal life was exclusively through Him. Jesus didn’t leave any room for anyone to be able to earn their way to the Father through their own good works or by following the ways of Buddha or Mohammad or drinking some kind of wiccan potion.
Of course, this should not have been the first time the disciples would have learned about the idea that no one comes to the Father except through Christ. Isaiah wrote about the tsar shalom (Prince of Peace), “...his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) The Hebrew word tsar is similar to the Russian word, czar, and the Roman caesar, and it means ruler. As the Ruler of Peace, Isaiah prophetically announced that Jesus would be the sole arbiter of who can be in shalom with the Father, or as Jesus proclaimed, “No one comes to the Father but through me.”
In order to back up that claim, Jesus performed signs and proclaimed that the apostles would do the same kind of works in His name. After Jesus’ ascension, John and Peter put this promise to the test and healed a beggar at the Beautiful gate in Jesus’ name. People argue about whether we have the same promise to do these signs, but I would argue that they were done before the fall of the Jerusalem temple while the canon of scripture was being written.
Now that we possess the entire revelation of God, we look forward to the day when Christ returns, and all things will be set in order. This is not to say that God does not answer prayer or intervene in His creation today, but the signs done by Christ and the generation of the apostles served a very specific purpose in establishing the church.
Today, we profess these words found in the Nicene Creed, "I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen."
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us the way, the truth and the life in Christ. We know that if it depended upon us to forge the way or discover the truth on our own, nobody would be able to receive life. May we receive this gift with gratitude and joy. Amen.