The Way, The Truth, The Life

Day 36

John 14 & 15

John 14 and 15 are a treasury of some of the most cherished words of Jesus. Consider what precious gems are found in these two famous chapters:

The promise of a place prepared in heaven.
In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.

The promise of another Helper — the Holy Spirit.
I will pray the father and He will give you another Helper that He may abide with you forever.

The Promise of perfect peace.
Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The call to abide in the vine and bear fruit.
I am the true vine. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.

The new commandment of the new covenant.
This is My command, that you love one another as I have loved you.

The greatest love of all.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends.

These words have brought immeasurable comfort to countless Christians for two thousand years. When Pope John Paul II lay dying a year ago, he asked that these chapters from the Gospel of John be read to him. Millions of Christians through the centuries have done the same.

When Jesus spoke these words in the Upper Room, He was a dying man, and He knew it. Jesus knew that before the sun would set again He would be dead on a cross; so He speaks with the urgency of a dying man. These words of transcendent truth come rushing out of Him as He tries to pack each moment of His final meeting with His disciples before His death with meaning.

What stands out the most to me from Jesus’ “last will and testament” is the exchange He has with Thomas. Jesus is telling His disciples that He is going to prepare them a place and that they know where He is going and they know the way to get there. When Thomas protests that they don’t know the way, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

These words belong to the category of words that can only be spoken by Jesus without them sounding like unmitigated egotism or sheer lunacy. Try to place these words in the mouth of any other great sage or leader and see how it comes across. Could Plato or Lincoln or Gandhi utter such words? Of course not. Muhammad could claim to be a prophet and Buddha could claim to know a way, but they could not dare to make the audacious claim of being the Way, the Truth and the Life. That these words “fit” in the mouth of Jesus — and only Jesus — is another testimony to the fact that He is the only begotten Son of God.