The Way, Truth, and Life
April 19, 2022
“And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:4-6).
On 3 separate occasions Jesus told the disciples that He was going to die, rise, ascend to heaven, and that they would not understand it (Matthew 16:21; Luke 9:22; 18:31-32). So we are to treat our Lord’s words here as a rebuke to a knowing but unbelieving discipleship.
The disciples knew where Jesus was going. He had told them before that He was going to the Father in heaven. They also knew the means whereby He would go to the Father - through His suffering and death. Alexander MacLaren says their knowledge of these things was unconscious, or passive. They had been told, but they didn’t want to accept what they had been told, so they consciously blocked it from their mind.
Thomas is the one to speak up instead of Peter, Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? He has garnered the unfortunate, but understandable title of ‘Doubting Thomas’ because he didn’t seem to grasp what Jesus said to them before going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:2-16), and he refused to accept the resurrection of Jesus even after He had appeared to the other disciples in his absence (John 20:19-25).
But Jesus is patient with the disciples. His rebuke was corrective, and His patience gracious. It was imperative the disciples understand the Gospel before being driven by the Holy Spirit out into the world to powerfully and faithfully spread the Good News to the world. Remember that the known world was once Hellenized - conquered by the Greek Empire - then Romanized - conquered by the Roman Empire. For centuries that part of the world was under the powerful influence of the pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans. Temples were erected everywhere to the pantheon of gods. Priests and priestesses abounded to facilitate the worship of their devotees. And much of the worship to the pagan gods appealed to the lusts of the flesh.
To counter the work of Satan in the pagan worship of the known world, the disciples had to be confident and consistent in the Gospel that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father in heaven, the only truth of the Father in heaven to them, and the only life able to give them eternal life in heaven. To further emphasize this, Jesus stated, No one comes to the Father except through Me. Paradise cannot be the destiny of those who worship demon gods. Only faith in Jesus Christ grants eternal life in the heavenly Kingdom.
This is our message today. The Gospel has not changed in two millennia. There is no alternate way, there is no other truth, there is no different life despite what religions, ancient or modern, may advocate. Jesus said, Enter by the narrow gate (Jesus Christ); for wide is the gate (world religions) and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14). Amen.