The Course of Faith
Meditation on John 14:2-6 by Cris Cramer
John 14:2-6 (NIV):
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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.
Jesus continues teaching his disciples during the Last Supper, telling them he is going to the Father's house in order to prepare a place for them in it. He tells them they already know the way to get there, and Thomas speaks out in confusion, almost certainly expressing the sentiment of the others: Jesus isn't actually telling them where he's going, so how can they know the way?
Did the disciples really understand that Jesus was talking about preparing a spiritual home for them, rather than a place within the confines of the physical world? Did they understand how imminent was Jesus' departure into the realm of death? It's not clear to me. Even though Jesus has told them plainly elsewhere that he is going to die, I'm not sure they really believed it. Hard news, especially emotionally-laden news, is terribly hard for human people to accept; radical, unexpected ideas often take a long time to be accepted too. Jesus was their Messiah, God's own representative on earth, the promised king and deliverer -- that he should die before he accomplished these ultimate goals must have been just such a radical idea to them; that he would accomplish these goals by his death even more so. Add to that their own personal connections to Jesus as friend and mentor, and it must have been even more difficult to accept and truly believe that he was going to give up his life, and soon.
So I can understand the disciples' confusion when Jesus tells them he is going to his "Father's house" and that they already know the way to get there. I do wonder if they thought he was going to take an ordinary, physical journey without them, expecting them to follow him later. But that isn't at all what Jesus meant, and they did indeed know what they needed in order to follow him. Not a map or chart or directions inside a physical, temporal world, but Jesus himself. They know the way to the Father's house because they know him. Jesus is the way.
I fall into the same trap, wanting to know more of the plan, wanting to see more than I see. I want more directions for my course in this physical, temporal world; I want to know where I am supposed to go and how I am supposed to get there and what I am intended to do. I want to have the itinerary all laid out and waiting. So Jesus' words admonish me too. If I have faith in him, that's what I need, that's all I need to get to the Father. Not that Jesus isn't going to guide my course in this world, but that kind of guidance and knowledge is not the most important thing. That's not what will get me to my Father's house.
Jesus urged his disciples, and he urges me, to trust in God and to trust in himself. I don't know where my path winds, but I know it leads to my Father in heaven; I don't have a map, but my guide is Jesus Christ, who is preparing a place for me and won't let me get lost on the way.
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