The Way, the Truth and the Life


“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 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. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him”

John 14:1-7

I remember going to a beach with my parents when I was small. There was what felt to me like a long track from the car park, and on the way back my parents went ahead, allowing me to walk back up on my own. I thought it was straightforward, but perhaps it was farther than I remembered, and I made it part way up before fear set in that I might be lost. It was one of those moments of panic – perhaps not rational, but very real to me. Not sure of the right way, not sure what to do.

A stranger heading down to the beach saw my distress, spoke with me, and led me back up to the car park and to my parents, and there was such relief and gratitude in me for the kindness they showed.

I love this passage, because it recalls that same worry. Jesus is going away – his followers won’t see him for a while. Don’t worry though, you know the way to where I’m going – and Thomas blurts out the words on all of their minds – “but we don’t know the way!” Jesus has so often shown their ideas to be misguided that you can understand the panic. If he’s not there to set us right we’ll get lost – and what then?

And Jesus’ answer is so perfect: it’s okay Thomas. All you need to know is me.

I don’t know what it will be like to die. I don’t know what that feels like – how your soul disconnects from your body, what we might see or hear. If it were left to me I would be in the same panic I felt on that path from the beach. But Jesus’ promise is to be the one who leads you throughout your life – and that when that moment comes, you need not fear your own sense of direction. He will be the first to greet you, before the first hint of fear that you’ve lost your bearings. He will take you by the hand and lead you into glory. He will be with you, and you need not be afraid.

I write this with tears in my eyes as I think of Ali – deep sorrow at her death, but far more that, utter and overwhelming gratitude that Jesus our saviour was with her throughout. As we spoke of the cancer and what might happen he was preparing our hearts for unthinkable possibilities. As her thinking grew muddled in her last hours he was with her bringing reassurance and peace. The lion by her bedside with tears for our grief and his muzzle resting against her. As her body gave up, in that very instant he was gently leading her into paradise – no fear that she might miss her step. “I will come and take you to be with me – that you also may be where I am.”

She’s with him. There is no better place. I can’t follow yet – but he’ll come for down the years when he’s good and ready, and there’s no fear in that road for me. As a child he sent a stranger to help me find my way. It’s no stranger who will guide me into the next life, but my friend, my brother, and my lord.

The world says you have options, you choose for yourself and it all works out in the end. Jesus says there is only one way. One true version of events, one path to eternal life. Does it surprise you that this would be the case? Or is that not the way with everything else? There’s one real, actual version of history. There’s one true answer to all the questions of science, even if we don’t know them all yet. Of course there can only be one true God, one way to make peace with him, one way to please him, one true religion and one single path to Heaven – and it all goes through Jesus.

Read John’s gospel. Go and visit your local church – if you’re not sure which to try, get in touch with me on the contact page and I’ll happily see if I can find one in your area. But above all look for Jesus. You don’t need to be lost any more. He is waiting for you.