(Jesus said) “You know the way to the place where I am going.” 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 and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:4-6 (NIV, 1978)
Three-and-one-half years had been spent traveling with Jesus, eating together, laughing together, witnessing His miracles and it all came down to this one night—this one conversation—only hours from a mock trial and a brutal crucifixion. In this conversation, the disciples demonstrate the lack of understanding they possessed regarding who Jesus was, the incomprehensible pain of what He was about to do, and the repercussions that would impact the world up until this very moment.
As in all the Bible, the written words had a context then and they have a context now. And for Jesus, His words in these moments would need to resonate in a manner that would not be lost in translation for centuries to come. As He spoke in “real talk” to his disciples in these final hours before the cross, He witnessed their desire to adjust His Father’s plan to meet their own expectations. This was not a new thing. Their words and attitudes were as old as Adam and Eve themselves. They could not conceive that the perfect will of God would include pain, heartbreak and loss that would be exceeded only by the glory and victory that they would experience in the end.
There are eternal truths that defy explanation except through faith which provides the motivation to believe. These truths include the absolutes expressed by a God who is both loving, perfect and holy. However, absolutes do not play well in a society that struggles with the right of a child to be born much less for that same child to be encouraged to embrace the gender with which he or she was born. Any society which dares to debate these most basic of absolutes naturally recoils at Jesus’ claim to be the ONLY way to the Father.
Jesus’ words transcend time. He knew all about the corruption of religion, the emptiness of theories based on intellect alone and of the hopelessness of a society with no absolutes. And, yet, He STILL says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.”