Jesus was leaving them.
The disciples clustered around the table and listened closely to their teacher. Moments before, Judas had slipped into the night after a quiet, tense conversation with Jesus. As Judas’ sandals plodded down the stairs from the Upper Room, Jesus turned to the remaining eleven disciples and stated, “I will be with you only a little longer” (John 13:33). A breathless quality hung about the room, an electric charge and the emotional welling of an anticipated goodbye as Jesus fit in as much teaching and prayer as possible (John 14-17).
Jesus began, ““In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you….” Thomas said to him “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way”. (John 14:2,5)
God often communicates to us in the simplest of terms. Sometimes frustratingly simple. The name most powerfully associated with God is two words, and in English, three little letters: I AM. Interestingly, the derivative word hayah is a verb from the Hebrew, translated Yahweh or I Am That I Am. God’s name comes from a verb meaning, “I will be”. Similarly, when Jesus said, “I am the way” he was speaking in simple, yet comprehensive terms, shaded deep with levels of meaning. He wasn’t merely pointing down a path to be followed, but walking on ahead of us.
Jesus himself is the destination and the direction.
Jesus is the place and the path and the power to get there. He is the way and he is the way, the who, the where and the how.
In the short phrase, “I am the way”, Jesus tells Thomas and the others (and you and me): “Look at me and follow me. You’ve seen the real deal in me, the very human face that is the same as the Father in heaven. Follow after me. I am the way to the Father and I’m making the way for you to come, too. And don’t worry, I’m leading the way, too. I won’t abandon you.” Then, he showered them with confidence: “You know the way to the place where I am going…From now on you do know [the Father], and have seen him”. (vs. 4 & 7, emphasis mine).
We got this, Jesus might be smiling as he holds out a hand, I know the way, I paved the way, I am the way.
Centuries before, the Israelites were given a “way” when God passed on the law. The law served as a means to both reveal human sin and provide means to make a way for sinful people to worship and be in relationship with a perfect, holy God. The way of the law was hard. But the Bible tells us that the law was made complete in Jesus.
“I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
He became the way and through Jesus all people can come freely to God.
“Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:23-28)
Jesus’ birth began the process of making “the way known to us”, the whole world of “us”. We can follow the examples of his life, we can study his teaching and we can know that in the person of Jesus Christ we have found God, and the way to eternity with him.
How is Jesus the way (destination) and the way (direction) for you?
Since Jesus was Plan A all along, and not a “salvation reaction plan”, can you trust him to find you even when you’ve lost your way?
In this demanding, fast-paced world–and a holiday season that seems to frazzle even the most efficient planner–how can following The Way help you remain on the right path?
Have you ever been lost or meandering aimlessly and needed The Way?
Thanks for reading, friends! For a high quality .pdf of today’s image, click here: I Am The Way