Here is the challenge. You want to communicate something which you know is beyond the current ability of your audience to understand. Their minds are simply unable to grasp the meaning of your words.
Not only that but you have one week to go before you have to leave them and you have a huge amount to do yourself.
This would be described as pressure in anyone’s circumstances and for thirty-three year old Nazarene carpenter, who is the Son of Man himself, the matrix is straining to breaking point.
You’re looking at the last days of his life. You’re exploring the moments when there is much discussion about him leaving to prepare a place for his friends to follow, and what that way will be.
Jesus has said these days were the reason why he was born and this week’s work are central to everything he has come to achieve. His best friend John who, along with his mother Mary, is capturing the story for you, paint scene after scene from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to temple to supper room to Kedron, Gethsemane and the Sanhedrin before the execution on Golgotha. The twelfth to nineteenth chapters are crammed with breathless action and breath-filled words.
As he pours out his heart and words to his friends both he and they know that these friends are struggling to understand anything that is happening. They see him but do not grasp him, they hear him but do not capture his meanings.
It is quite clear that the Son of Man himself is troubled, he says so (in John 12:27). The whole week is disturbing for him. Opposition is mounting, betrayal is looming, denial will hit him and fraudulent trials will precede unjust execution.
There is so much to show, say and teach and so little time to do it.
Pause for a moment and realize that the Son of Man knows all these experiences. The troubled heart and the exasperation, the deadlines and frustrations, these impossible workloads are all there in his last few days. All kinds of opposition is there and he has a team that cannot fathom what is going on.
Thomas spoke for them all, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?” It’s a voice of bewilderment and confusion and it provokes one of the Son of Man’s most famous statements.
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. He goes on to say that if they really knew him they would know the Father.
This statement of the way, truth and life is the subject of sermons, books and studies. This week I want to make some statements about it ahead of digging into it in the future.
First, will you please observe that neither they nor you can understand these words on your own. Jesus makes it quite clear that until the Counselor (the Holy Spirit) comes they will not get it. And this is true for you. Unless the Spirit of God works supernaturally within your soul these words will be just that – words.
Second, the Son of Man is inviting you into a dynamic so intimate and profound that it will impact everything you do this week and every week.
The words in John’s fourteenth chapter contain a description of an ultimate union between Son, Father and Spirit. Read it for yourself. If you see the Son you see the Father, one is in the other and the other is in the One. Again and again, from angle and after angle the Son of Man describes these three yet one.
And as the day passes he begins to reveal that you can join in.
Now look again. I said there was a time constraint on him because it was the last week of his life and that is true. The real time constraint, though, is time itself. Look how at Bethany he is anointed with perfume before his funeral. Look at Jesus saying he is going to prepare a place but then that what he is saying now will not make sense until the Spirit comes. Events are taking place in time but they are bigger than time.
So my third statement about Jesus’ amazing phrase is that he says “I AM – the way, truth and life”. He is opening their eyes to the fact that he is beyond just getting them from here to there, he’s wanting them to see that his job about connecting them to a different dimension altogether.
This is about stepping out of time into eternity, it is about stepping out of blindness into sight, it is about moving into a world of union with the trinity, unimaginable love and invisible realities. This is about the Father and Son setting up home in your soul. (see it in John 14:33)
This is a different kind of truth, an explosion into a radically unique life and an altogether transformed way of being.
Now all of this needs to become embedded in your soul while you are going about your ordinary, regular working week. These inner revolutions are not for Sundays only but when you are actually dealing with your days.
If you are left thinking “I don’t know how” or “I am not sure I understand“, then you are in a great place because you will be open to some inner counseling, inner resources, reminders and explanations.
You will be open to searching for the way, truth and life with an inquisitive, not troubled, heart trusting in him as he invites you to do.
The fourteenth chapter closes with ‘don’t be troubled and don’t be afraid’. If you are beginning to feel this then you will be hungry and thirsty for more insight into the way, truth and life.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
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