v5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:5,6 NIV.
Here we have Jesus telling his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” So why is there so much confusion about the way? Obviously there is a lot going on. This is what we will be looking into, in this exhortation.
How can we know the way?
John 14 says – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” – John 14:3 NIV. Jesus came down from heaven to earth. He was with his disciples for 3 years. Jesus tried to alert his disciples many times that he would return to heaven. Now he assured them that he would come back and take you(them)to be with me (him) but they must have missed the point. I like Thomas’ candid approach. He was not at all apologetic that he did not get it. He asked questions. Thomas asked Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”– John 14:5 NIV. You see in Chapter 13 Jesus had already told them, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” – John 13:33 NIV. It was then that Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” – John 13:36 NIV. Peter asked “Lord, where are you going?” and Thomas voiced that same concern, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”– John 14:5 NIV.
You know the way to the place I am going:
Let us connect their two thoughts. Now, these five chapters (Chapters 13 to 17) represented the last teachings of Jesus before he was crucified. So they must be important. The disciples had been following Jesus for some three years. And they were willing to follow Jesus for the rest of their lives. You know the story of Lazarus who was sick and dying. Jesus wanted to return to Judea to heal Lazarus. But his disciples objected, they said, “. . . a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” – John 11:8 NIV. But Thomas said to them,“Let us also go, that we may die with him.” – John 11:16 NIV. Bravo Thomas! And here Peter said,“I will lay down my life for you.” – John 14:37 NIV–Yes, a kudo for Peter!So, why would Jesus want to leave such faithful followers?
Let us see if we could figure them out – – “Lord, where are you going?” – John 13:36 NIVand “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”– John 14:5 NIV. Just one verse earlier Jesus said to Thomas, “4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” And here one verse on (verse 5) Thomas said “so how can we know the way?” You would notice the relationship of Chapter 13 and Chapter 14. In Chapter 13 Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room celebrating their Passover meal – the last supper. Judas was about to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed. The disciples wanted to know who it was among them that would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. As Jesus had pointed out, the disciples were all over the place – they were about to betray him,deny him, arguing about who is greatest!These were guys who had been with Jesus (followedhim) for three years. These had to be troubling signs and the disciples were troubled!
How can we know the way?
Jesus showed the disciples what to be great meant when he washed his disciples’ feet. Jesus explained, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”– Matt 23:11 NIV. No wonder chapter 14 started with Jesus telling them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms . . .”– John 14:1,2 NIV.
My take, Jesus was telling them not to worry – let not your heart be troubled. Why? Because they were on the wrong track! What then was the right track – “You believe in God; believe also in me.” This was key, because to follow meant tobelieve in God and tobelieve also in me (Jesus). Unfortunately, this happened to be our failure too. If we believe in God we would trust him and Jesus would know the way. All we needed to do was to follow Jesus. Jesus is the way. How more clearly could Jesus have put it than to say, “I am the way. . .” Only Jesus knew the way to his Father’s house! So just follow Jesus. Didn’t we all understand that? Of course, but now Jesus was telling them that he was leaving them, that worried them. There was really no reason to worry because Jesus also promised,“I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”– John 14:2 NIV. Next question, “ What were they supposed to do when Jesus was away?”
By this everyone will know:
If the disciples had followed Jesus closely enough, they would remember that Jesus had not just told them but had shown them the way. In fact it was in the form of a commandment: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 14:34-35 NIV. So Jesus did not just tell them, Jesus commanded them. The way that Jesus had pointed them to – it was the way of LOVE. He framed it as a commandment because there was no other way. Take note that Jesus pointed to himself as the way – “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”Jesus’wayis the wayof love. Love had to be the way – the way Jesus had loved them – “as I have loved you.” That was the only way, the way to his Father (to God’s house).
The LOVE highway:
If you read the Gospels carefully, you would notice that it was the Gospel of John that most emphasized Jesus to be God. It was the apostle John who clearly stated the fact that, “God is love.” And, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8NIV. It’s that simple!
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, the scene was dramatic. Mt. Sinai was covered with smoke in fire . . . the whole mountain trembled violently – Exodus 19:18,19 NIV. And there was the sound of trumpet. But when Jesus gave them the new commandmentthere was no smoke or tremblingof the mountain or the sound of trumpet. All these things happened with Moses because the Lord descended on the mountain.
When Jesus gave them the new commandment God was already with them – no need for the smoke and fire or sound of trumpet. The important point to note was this. The new commandment to love clearly was not to replace the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were a part of the Law of Mosesbut when Ezra opened the book . . . 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. – Neh. 8:8,9 NIV. So, the upshot, theLaw of Moses was the Law of the Lord – one and the same thing. This meant that the new commandment to LOVEwas the sum total of all the Ten Commandments put together. The new commandment did not replace or supersede it. You see, if the Ten Commandments had been replaced, there would be nothing to prevent us from stealing, cheating, dishonoring our parents or perhaps, to commit adultery!
The truth and the life:
A command as you know is mandatory not optional. So how much do you value the commandment to LOVE? This is how King David sees God’s commands,“127Because I love your commandsmore than gold, more than pure gold,128and because I consider all your precepts right,. . . 142Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.– Psalm 119:142 NIV. Do you love the new commandment to love more than gold? I tell you, it is worth more than pure gold because, God’s laws are righteousand everlasting. Take it from King David. It is true. The Word of God is law – righteous, everlastingand is true. And Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1), the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE!
I like the way the apostle John himself has put together what we have talked about. Here it is. Read it carefully and see if you will agree with me –
4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God is truly made perfect. We know that we are in Him by this— 6 whoever claims to abide in Him must walk just as He walked.1 John 2:4-6 Tree of Life Version (TLV) – that is, to way in LOVE!