Monday, March 20, 2017
Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Reflect In considering this excerpt from a conversation between Jesus and his disciples, we need to keep in mind the context of the conversation and Jesus’ intention. Jesus and his disciples had finished the meal that we call “the last supper” a short time ago. Judas Iscariot had left the group to prepare for the betrayal and the arrest of Jesus; Jesus was soon to be arrested, crucified and put to death. Jesus knows all this and has been talking about these impending events with his disciples to prepare them for what is to come. Yet it seems that they don’t fully understand what he is telling them nor where or how he is going. They seem still to be thinking that he will establish a temporal kingdom.
Thomas reveals the disciples’ lack of understanding and their confusion: “We don’t know what you are talking about; we don’t know where you are going.” Jesus knows that when these events have occurred, the disciples will be disillusioned and question the truth of his claims. Jesus wants to reassure them that none of what is coming is a surprise to him nor is it outside of God’s plan, and so Jesus reassures Thomas and the others with this “I am” statement, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He emphasizes that by following his teachings and examples he will be the way to the Father, and by knowing the Father they will have eternal life: “No one comes to the Father except through me”.
What does this conversation mean for us today?
Jesus effectively said, “Commit yourselves wholly to a relationship with me, accept my sacrifice, and follow my teachings and examples. That is the way to the dwelling place in the presence of my Father and eternal life.” In the words of Dallas Willard, “the greatest issue facing the world today is whether those who are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples . . . practitioners of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom into every corner of human existence.”
What is your relationship with Jesus like? How do you become a steady practitioner of Jesus?