Summary: There’s plenty of room for us so let us follow Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Introduction: This passage is near the beginning of Jesus’ farewell address to the disciples. As scholar William Barclay writes: “In a very short time life for the disciples was going to fall in. Their world was going to collapse in chaos around them. At such a time there was only one thing to do—stubbornly hold on to trust in God…If, in the darkest hour, we believe that somehow there is a purpose in life and that that purpose is love, even the unbearable becomes bearable and even in the darkness there is a glimmer of light.”
John 14:1-7, 27
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him…
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Prayer: Creator, You have shaped a place for us made of love and held in grace. It is filled with the whispers of the ancients who followed You and sculpted our faith. Breathe into this place again, that we may know Your way, Your truth, and Your life. Amen.
These words of comfort are so lovely. I used them only yesterday at my uncle’s memorial. I think that just about everyone loves them. I could listen to them again and again. “Do not let your hearts be troubled…Do not let your hearts be troubled…Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
And yet there are also words in this passage that make us uncomfortable. I always stumble over the words, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Those words have been used to exclude people and to threaten people. That is sad because the fact that we belong to Jesus doesn’t not mean that we own Jesus. There can be no question that many fine people live lives to the glory of God without knowing the name of Jesus. Not knowing His name doesn’t mean that He isn’t working in them. People can come to God through Jesus in many ways that we may not understand. It is good to remember that earlier in John, Jesus says, “I have other sheep not of this fold.” Therefore, I would remind you that Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus has the situation gently in hand.
But let’s go back to the idea of comfort. Jesus comforts us by reassuring us that in God’s house there are many dwelling places. There is room enough for all. We can fit in and we don’t even have to squeeze.
For some reason this idea reminds me of how cramped we can be in an over-loaded car. At our house we still play the “Game of Life.” It’s a simple game where you almost always end up rich and comfortable. The only problem is if you get too many children, and getting children is encouraged in the game. There are only six seats in the little cars. If you get more that four children they don’t fit in the car.
That’s not a problem in heaven. God has plenty of room for us all. But as Thomas asks, “How do we know the way to get to heaven?”
Jesus answers with one of the most powerful statements in the Bible. He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
I was thinking a lot about this idea that Jesus is the way. He doesn’t just tell us the way, He shows us. He is kind of like one of those GPS navigation system. GPS stands for the “Global Positioning System” that was originally designed for military use, but now is open to all. There are 24 satellites that circle the earth pinpointing where you are and where you want to go.
I would suggest that we have a better GPS. Ours is the “God Positioning System.” Because of Jesus, we know how to live, how to position ourselves in the world. We each have an internal gauge that points to the right thing to do. Jesus has shown us that love, grace, and forgiveness lead us on the way.