“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6
Joy in the midst of suffering. Comfort in the midst of pain. Hope in the midst of despair. Some who read this, may think, that makes no sense. Well that’s just because the attitudes mentioned above are so contrary to our way of thinking.
We look at things around us and we can very easily fall into despair as answers to some of the pressing question of the day seem to allude us. No one can seem to agree on how to prevent school shootings, teen suicides, the opioid crisis. The answers allude us because we are looking in all the wrong places.
People intuitively look to the government, some go the social media and create a #hashtag movement, some will appeal to various pundits but the answers still allude us and we simply fall into despair.
The reason we fall into despair is that we have forgotten or dare I say rejected our main reason for being here. We look to self help gurus, engross ourselves in our jobs, trying to find the secret to living a life of joy. According to Jack Palance in City Slickers, it’s the one thing. Well, in reality, he almost got it right.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus was preparing His followers for his departure. A departure that would be cruel as He was betrayed, arrested, wrongfully accused, and sentenced to die on a Roman cross. The world of Jesus’s followers would be rocked. You see they expected an earthly King, but no matter how much Jesus told them otherwise, they were simply not convinced.
So, in the passage from John 14:6, Jesus answers a question asked by one of His followers, the Apostle Thomas. Jesus had explained that He was going away to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house and that they would know the way. So, Thomas always the pragmatist, says but Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way.
This made perfect sense. Even if they had a GPS, they wouldn’t be able to find out where Jesus was going to prepare a place for them.
So, then Jesus answers Thomas by telling him that it is He, meaning Jesus, who is the way the truth and the life.
Jesus was not giving Thomas directions to a place. Jesus was telling Thomas about a way of life. In other words, if Thomas and Jesus’ disciples wanted to find their way to the place in the Father’s House that Jesus was preparing for them, they would need to follow the example that Jesus was setting for them. They would need to follow His teachings and find their life through Jesus.
You see it was by following the way of life that Jesus had taught them that they would find their way to eternal life. The road that they would travel was a narrow road with difficulties along the way. But it was that road that would lead them to eternal life.
The code by which they would live and teach others to live was a code of Loving and obeying God with all their hearts, minds and strength and to love their neighbors as themselves. That would mean that they would have to put God first in their lives and also to look out for their neighbors and to love them.
Following Jesus, my friends, is not all doom and gloom. No, there is tremendous joy in that life. There is tremendous joy in living a life that is pleasing to God. A life that is selfless and loving.
The “one thing that is the secret of life” is Jesus.
The reason that our world is in so much turmoil today is that we have forgotten the one thing. We have denied the very existence of Jesus. We have mocked truth as something that is old fashion and we have followed our own way.
Our way has been harmful to our children and grandchildren. Anxiety and stress are increasing in our younger generation. Moral relativism, which has been taught to our younger generation, has given them nothing that will guide their lives and like ships trying to navigate a rocky port without a lighthouse, their lives will only crash on the rocks of self-destruction.
God planned a different way. He created us and loves us. His desire is for us to choose to live our lives in accordance to His ways because His ways are perfect.
Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Which road will you take? The one less traveled leads to eternal life. Will you take that one or will you continue on the road of self that has already failed so many?