Lenten Devotional // Day 31

Wednesday, April 6
I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life by Dave Merill

John 14:1-6
“Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. You know the way to the place I’m going.”
Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.”
The imagery that initially comes to my mind when I read this verse is one of Jesus sitting in a parked car in a driveway with his door open and sort of halfway sitting in the driver seat.  He’s getting ready to back out and before he leaves he’s saying his goodbyes.  I hear him saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon and next time you can go with me.”  

Cool.  Next time I’ll just hop in the passenger seat and Jesus will drive me home.

Except there’s a twist.  It feels like there’s always a twist with Jesus. Doesn't it?

Instead of Jesus driving me home next time, he switches and says, “You know the way to the place I’m going.”

Wait, hold up!  If you’re taking me, why do I need to know the way? Aren’t you driving?  I had plans to read a book and sleep.

Then Thomas asks, “How can we know the way?”  Which implies that he must’ve been okay with trying to get himself to the destination because he’s asking for directions.

Jesus basically just says, “Oh….it’s me.  I’m the way.  You take Interstate JC the whole way!”

Okay…to get to the Father I take the way of Jesus.  Got it.  If God’s house is the destination then Jesus is the road I take.  

If that’s not confusing or ambiguous enough, Jesus tacks on the line, “If you know me, you know God.  From now on you know him and have seen him.”
And then back in my imagery I see Jesus close the door, back down the drive and take off into the sunset.  Leaving me standing in the driveway mumbling to myself.  “If I know Jesus, I know God. As of this very moment I know God and have seen him? (long pause to reach a realization) DID GOD JUST LEAVE ME HERE WITHOUT CLEAR DIRECTIONS TO FIND GOD AGAIN!!!!????”

You see, I think Jesus was once again brilliant.  When his followers wanted directions to the destination of God, he instead gave them a new definition of God.  

Upon being asked the question “where is God’s house?” Jesus answers with, “You’ve been there.  You’ve seen God.”

To reside in God’s house, you follow the way and truth and life of Jesus.  His followers would’ve known what that looked like.  To reside with God, you love your neighbor as yourself.  You welcome the foreigner. You feed the hungry. You clothe the naked. You heal the sick. You forgive sins.

Need I go on?

Today, my friend, know that you can see God right now.  There’s no road trip for you to take.  No one is gonna drive you off to some distant land.  Jesus isn’t going to carry you somewhere.  

No, instead, Jesus lived a life of sacrificial love on others’ behalf and said, “That’s the way.  That’s the truth.  That’s… the life.”

A life of love doesn’t take you to God someday.  A life of love for others takes you straight to the very presence of God here and now.  

“From now on you know him…”

Questions for Contemplation
  • Is God a destination that you are working to find?  
  • If it’s true that you’ve seen God where you’ve seen sacrificial love, where have you seen God today?  

Jesus, thank you for embodying the answer to God’s house.  Thank you for first loving us so sacrificially that anything that would have separated us from God is no longer a factor. The distance between us and God has been removed, and we rejoice in that reality.   Thank you that the answer for us to find God is through the following the life you lived.  May your Spirit continue to guide our path.  Your nearness is to us our good! Amen.

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