“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 14:5–6
Jesus has begun his final words of instruction to his disciples before he’s taken from them. He knows what’s going to happen within the next few hours and his thoughts are not for himself but for his disciples who still aren’t ready to face the trials quickly to come upon them.
Jesus has just told them that they know where he’s going and they know the way, and Thomas, in our focus text, answers in a pleading protest, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
In answer Jesus utters one of those gems of spiritual wisdom that’s been treasured by Christians around the world for millennia, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
In making this statement Jesus no doubt further confused his bewildered disciples, but he made two truths very plain for those who would follow after him as his disciples. The first is that our quest is to stand once again before our Heavenly Father, and the second is that the journey to get to Him is a spiritual one and not a physical.
Many people believe that heaven is our goal; to live in a golden mansion, wear a star studded crown, and walk on streets of gold. But friends, the physical place, the substance and quality of the furnishings that are to be found there are incidental. God, to know him, to see him and to be with him, where ever he is, must become the longing of our hearts. Heaven is heaven because our connection is wholly restored with our creator. If He’s not what we yearn for everything else would be beautiful irritations within a prison paradise. And since God fills the immensities of the universe there will be no escaping his presence. If you don’t long for Him such a life would be unspeakably and increasingly intolerable.
Jesus’ directions on how to navigate to the Father now make perfect sense. It’s by being with Jesus, spending time with him, getting to know him, submitting to him and learning what it is to actually become like him, that is the substance of the spiritual journey we’re taking.
A far greater spiritual distance must be traversed than the light years that now separate heaven from earth. The rebellious must be reborn, the sinful must become righteous, the selfish must become selfless, the defamed must become holy, and we, whose thoughts are evil continually, must, not just learn what it means but in reality, become sons and daughters of God. This is our preparation to see the Father.
That’s why Jesus is the way. It’s by looking to him that we see what’s God’s like. It’s by coming to him that we draw near to our Heavenly Father. It’s by learning from him that we once again learn how to be children of God.
O friends, look to Jesus, look to Jesus, look to Jesus. Find him in the holy scriptures, listen to him in the whispers of his Spirit, touch him as you love others for him. Today you may have to accept the reality of his presence by faith but one day soon your faith will become sight and you’ll be with him where he is.