“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.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Lungs heaving, blisters forming, quads cramping, throat burning, gaze focused on the spot ahead where you can no longer see trees behind the trees. Instead, the brightness in front of you shouts with joy that you have made it two thirds up the mountain; you have reached the tree line, the place where the air is chill and dry and the only living things around are your hiking buddies and the occasional gopher.
It is a triumph to have come so far, but then you look around in dismay. What happened to the path? The clear strip of ground that has been your guide for the last couple of hours has suddenly vanished into a steep face of boulders and loose stones that look more likely to sprain your ankle than guide you forward.
You sit heavily, gulp some water, and strain your eyes toward the distant, seemingly-unreachable summit. Now what?
We will all encounter trouble in life, times when the path is unclear and we feel uncertain, discouraged, angry, and afraid. Jesus guarantees that we will face trouble, but He warns us against feeling troubled. Jesus has a simple antidote for the human condition of worry: believing in Him. When we are lost, can we believe that Jesus is the King of kings, that He is still present with us, and that He can lead us onward, carrying our burdens for us?
The disciples are dismayed when Jesus said He was going away from them. This is understandable; Jesus had been their constant guide for the past three years. The disciples relied on Jesus for everything, just as we are meant to do in our lives. They were troubled by the idea of losing their guide, something we feel when life takes an unexpected turn and our smooth, steady track becomes messy, forked, and blocked by obstacles. How does Jesus reply when the disciples worry about not knowing the way to go? “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
When you reach that point where it is all boulders and loose rocks, where there is a difficult decision to make or the temptation to backtrack, look to where Jesus is. Fix your eyes on Him and walk toward Him. Jesus is the Way.
What about when we lose ourselves amidst piles of gossip, where rumours and lies cause us to judge others or to fear for our place? In those moments, we can remember that Jesus has a perfect love that casts out fear. That He sees us as we are, loves us anyway, and calls us to speak His love over others. Jesus is the truth.
Sometimes we are like Philip in verse 8, wanting just one more thing before we believe we will have enough. We are a people perpetually looking toward the grass that we perceive to be greener. If we feel a lack of worth, we might work harder to earn approval. If we feel bored, we might seek negative distractions. Let us not walk toward an unfulfilling filler, an insufficient substitute for the love Jesus holds out to us. Let us walk toward Him. Jesus is the only way to what our souls are really craving. In Him we can be satisfied. Jesus is the life.
Are there any weights you are carrying that you need to hand over to Jesus? Do you need to surrender your way to His way, even if you cannot see where it goes? Jesus wants you to be with Him so much that He died for it. When you ask to walk along the path beside Him, He will always help you.
Jesus, we all have weights that we cling to. We pray for courage to let go of what is holding us back so that we can walk along the path beside You. Amen.
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