Chapter 34.1 “I Am the Way”
Thursday night (Jewish Friday) of Passion Week, upper room, Jerusalem A.D. 30
“I Am the Way,” composite digital image by L. Lovett, 2006
“I Am the Way,” composite digital image by L. Lovett, 2006
(CLICK on the image above for a LARGER version)

Institution of the New Covenant was not the last of what occurred at the paschal table. Jesus had so much more to teach his chosen ones. For three years he had been training them with unwearied wisdom and patience, but still they were such children and had understood so little, and now his time was very short. In a few hours their faith would meet the severest test. They would have to trust God that the arrest and execution of their Master was part of the divine plan.

With the help of the Spirit, John the beloved disciple preserved Christ’s last discourses in his memory, and kept them safe. To read the 14th through 17th chapters of John’s Gospel for the first time is one of the greatest experiences that can ever come to a person in this world. To read them for the hundredth time is an experience just as great. One can only read kneeling in God’s very presence.

Way to the Father

The Savior gathered his closest companions around him, as a hen with her chicks, and spoke words of such intensity that they are hardly words at all, but a sort of distilling of the soul, a precious essence pressed out drop by drop and word by word, an utmost giving of himself in love to those he is about to leave. He knew they couldn’t yet understand, but would feel their warmth.

“Set your troubled hearts at rest. Trust in God always; trust also in me. My Father’s house has accommodations for a multitude of people. It is true I am going to prepare places for all of you, but it is also true I am coming again to take you to myself, so no matter where I am, you will be with me. Now you know where I am going and the way to get there.”

Thomas interrupted, “Master, we don’t know where you are going, so how could we possibly know the way?” He was visualizing a place instead of a person.

With these immortal words, Jesus brought Thomas’ eyes back into focus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except by me. If you knew me for who I really am, then you would know my Father also. From now on you do know him—you have seen him.”

“Show us the Father,” exclaimed Philip, “and then we will be satisfied.”

The Lord was dismayed at his inability to see beyond the physical, “All this time I have been with you, and yet you do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. The words I speak do not originate in me, nor the works I do. The Father who is in me communicates the words and does the works. Believe when I say that I am in the Father, and the Father in me. In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will be able to do what I am doing—and will be able to do even greater things because I go to the Father. Anything you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Promise of Holy Spirit

Christ now promised his children they would not be alone when he left the world. “If you love me with your heart, you will obey my commands, and I will ask the Father to send my Advocate (Greek: Paraclete, someone called alongside to give aid) to befriend you and be with you forever. I am referring to the Spirit of Truth, whom the world is unable to receive because it cannot see him and does not know him. But you know him and he is with you right now—and will be in you.

“I am not going to leave you bereft of my presence so that you are orphans in the world; I am coming back to you. In a little while the world will see me for the last time, but you shall see me because I live on. Because I live, you too will live. When that day comes you shall know without doubt that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you.”

Trying to grasp such profound truths, Thaddaeus (Jude) asked, “Lord, Why are you going to disclose yourself only to us and not to the world?”

Jesus was patient with him and explained, “Anyone who loves me will cherish my teaching and obey it heartily. Then my Father will love him, and we will come and make our dwelling with him. But whoever does not love me ignores my words, in spite of the fact that my teaching originates from the Father who sent me. I have told you all this while I am still here; but my Advocate, the Holy Spirit who will come in my behalf, will be your teacher. He will recall to your minds all I have said and make it clear.

“This is my legacy to you—peace of mind and heart. It is my own peace I give, and not at all what the world gives. So do not let your hearts be distressed or dismayed. If you really love me, you will be glad for me because now I can go to the Father who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they occur, your faith will not be shaken.”

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