The 'I AM' series focuses on the different things Jesus associated himself with; and this time we looked at the big kahuna - Jesus telling his apostles he is the way, the truth and the life.
So let's set the context for this.
John 14. This is Jesus' last homely, his last teaching to his apostles before he gets arrested. This last lesson also comes right after he dropped the 'one-of-you-is-going-to-betray-me' bombshell. Oh, and after he's told Peter that he will betray him three times. I don't know about you, but I personally think that the atmosphere in that room was less than light and chirpy. It was an intense moment, the environment was heavy; queue Jesus hitting them up with this final, awe-inducing message.
He starts off by dropping yet another bombshell (John 14: 1 - 3): I am God, trust in me no matter what.
To us, this may seem relatively 'basic'. I mean our belief in Jesus Christ is literally in our name - we're CHRISTians. The apostles however, were Jews. So Jesus was basically telling them that they should have the same faith they had in God, in him; which, upon hearing for the first time, was pretty intense.
We learn certain basic truths about Jesus here:
1. He is honest: "If this were not so, would I have told you..."
2. His function: He is preparing the way for us. Jesus was a gift to us from God and he was given to us in order to prepare us to be given back to the Father, sanctified and saved.
3. His ultimate triumph: He will come again, and he will be waiting for us when we die. Death means an eternity with Jesus. Heaven is where Jesus will be.
This was quite a lot to handle and Thomas had a question:
"We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” John 14: 5
Now here's a question for you: When was the last time you asked Jesus something? When was the last time you asked him for guidance on a decision, or simply asked him what was up because you couldn't understand? It's easy for us to slack in this respect; to stop really caring enough to question and discuss things with God. We shouldn't!
So, let's now look into each declaration that Jesus made, one by one.
Jesus as 'The Way'
Before we lead people to God we need to know where we're going. 'Where are we going?' you may ask (just like Thomas!). The answer? We're going towards eternal life with the Father. That's the only way.
A thought might pop into your brain upon reading this - what about those people that have never, and will never, hear about Christ? Is there any other way to salvation except through Jesus?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) has an answer to that:
847 This affirmation [salvation through Jesus] is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church.
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.
Jesus as 'The Truth'
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
John 18 : 37
Jesus seeks and saves those who are lost, those who still don't know the truth. If we manage to make people question our actions (why we do and don't do certain things, for example) all we must do is tell them to find the truth themselves. Inevitably, this searching will lead them to Jesus. The only way to attain truth is to seek Jesus, and actively choose to have a relationship with him and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus as 'The Life'
Living in the 21st century isn't always easy (though it may seem like it is on face value). We're constantly being bombared with new things, new ideals which makes us always want something more, and something better. A new job, the latest iPhone or Android, that girl, that guy, the awesome crop top, that cool snapback. But really, they mean nothing.
Jesus is what makes life worth living.
Jesus is who we should pursue everday.
Jesus should be transforming us daily.
If there's one thing to keep in mind, it's this:
We are the bride of Christ getting ready for our groom to present us to the father.
We need to prepare ourselves. We need to seek Him, speak to Him, hang out with Him.
Let us not be has-beens. Live now, making Jesus your truth, way and life.