Sunday, May 10, 2020

“I am the way and the truth and the life”


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 14th chapter of John, beginning with the 1st verse, “Christ the way truth life.”

14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5 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. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:1-14)


Life is a journey. Each of us has a road to walk and decisions to make. Are we looking forward or looking back? Are we watching our steps or looking to Jesus? The road of life was not meant to be walked alone. It was meant to be walked with Jesus.

“I am the way and the truth and the life”

Everyone is searching for a home. In actuality, it is the one desire humans have that cannot properly be satisfied on this earth because this earth is not our home. In a spiritual sense, everyone is like Patch Adams, striving to get home, but the snowstorms of sin blind us, and often we find ourselves on the wrong path.

Patch Adams tries to describe his early life. He compares it to being caught in a snowstorm so blinding that you could walk in circles for days and not even know it. You are incredibly tired, and no one is answering your cries for help. He says, “How small you can feel. How far away home can be.” Patch uses a dictionary definition to say that home is both where you are from as well as your destination. He explains that the storm was in his mind. Though he longed for home, he could not find the right path. He ends with, “Eventually, I would find the right path, but in the most unlikely place.”

We all are looking for the path home. The good news is that Jesus whispers to our homesick hearts, “He is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes home [to the Father] except through him.”

The early Christians picked up on Jesus’ words that he was “the way,” and called themselves, “The Way.” The term focuses more on the concept of a path, rather than a direction. The image of a path depicts more that idea of the journey, as opposed to the destination. Jesus is the path to the Father—to home. Christianity—the walk of faith—is a way of life or a lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, the goal of Christianity is not to get to heaven but to live each day in a personal relationship with God.

Popular Christianity treats Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as a means to an end—God has saved my soul so that when I die, I will get to heaven. This popular belief is opposite the idea that through the cross of Jesus Christ, I can enter into a relationship with God and experience an abundant life each and every day that I take a breath and my heart beats.

The popular, but narrow view, I believe, explains why so many Christians don’t act like Christians. They compartmentalize their Christianity to an occasional act of worship on Sunday morning—just enough to get to heaven. The idea that living by faith is a journey eludes them.

Jesus is the Way. Walking with Jesus means:

  • Living a life where challenges, disappointments, and failures are not God’s judgments, but times when we experience Jesus in a more profound, more intimate way.

  • Living a life where love and forgiveness are daily demonstrated in great and small ways.

  • Living a life where the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, is abundant and ripe.

  • Living a life with the purpose of bearing witness to God’s love and grace to the people around us.

  • Living a life where we use our gifts and talents to serve God by serving others.

Not only does Jesus identify himself as the Way, but he also says that he is the Truth.

Almost all of us say that we want to know the truth, but in reality, we don’t. What we really want is to hear something that we already know, or to read something that agrees with what we think is the truth. New ideas or divergent ideas are not welcomed—even though they may contain some truth. Often teenagers are confronted by parents who demand that they tell them the truth. The teenagers confess that they don’t tell their parents the truth; instead, they tell their parents what their parents want to hear.

Truth comes to those who seek the truth. Sometimes it dawns on us quickly. Archimedes struggled to figure out how he could tell if the king’s crown was made from pure gold or laced with lead. The truth suddenly came upon him while he was soaking in his bathtub in the concept of specific gravity. Archimedes rushed through town, forgetting to put on a rob, shouting, “Eureka!” “I’ve found it!”

For some people, the truth that they have been living their lives in opposition and apart from God dawns on them suddenly. In a flash of light, they see their sinfulness, their emptiness, their need, and realize that Jesus is the only one who can forgive and fulfill.

Truth also comes slowly. Thomas Edison said that invention is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. Many people realize that by walking with Jesus—the Truth—the truth slowly seeps into their lives and changes them. They do not know when, where, or how it happened, but as they look back on their journey through life, they realize how the truth has shaped and molded them and made them different people.

Being destination-focused forces us to miss much of what the journey has to offer. Being content that we are headed in the right direction, learning to enjoy the journey, and opening ourselves to the truth, allows us to live an abundant life that really can be “heaven on earth.

Amen.

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Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Sermon contributed by Kevin Ruffcorn.
The life of faith is a journey along the path of life with Jesus. It also is opening ourselves up to the truth of the Spirit.

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