May 17 2019 Reflection
Friday 17 May 2019
First Reading: ACTS 13:26-33
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
PS 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB
Gospel Reading: JN 14:1-6
Today’s Note: Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Do you allow any troubles to rob you of God’s peace? As much as we try to avoid it, we all inevitably encounter trouble and difficulties. Jesus knew his disciples would have to face trials and persecution after he left them to return to his Father in heaven. Adversity can make us lose hope and become discouraged, or it can press us closer to God and to his promises for us.
“It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
A place for you in my Father’s house
Just as God, who appeared as a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night, went ahead of Moses and the Israelites to lead them safely through the wilderness to the promised land, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going ahead through his ascension into heaven to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house – a place of lasting peace, friendship, and happiness with God. God’s house is never closed nor over-crowded – there is plenty of room for everyone who believes in God and in his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest fear in this present life – whether it be the separation and loss of a loved one or the threat to one’s own life – is put to rest by Jesus’ promise that we will live forever with him and the eternal Father. There we will be joined with a great company of saints and angels who will be our friends forever as well.
Do you know the way to the Father’s house in heaven? Jesus expected his disciples to know where his life was headed – to dwell in everlasting glory with his Father in heaven. And he expected that his disciples would recognize that this was their ultimate destination as well. Thomas, who was both a doubter and a realist, spoke for all the disciples when he said, “we neither know where you are going nor how we shall get there on our own?” Thomas was a very practical “down to earth” kind of person who wanted to see the map and landmarks showing the exact path that would lead the way to the desired haven. Jesus assured Thomas that he would not only give him everything he needed to complete the journey, he would be Thomas’ personal guide as well.
Traveling alone in unfamiliar or uncharted places can be unnerving and bewildering without a companion or guide. And some places are impossible to pass through without the right person who knows the way and who can guarantee a safe passage. Several years ago I was invited by Christian friends to visit their community in Lebanon. They were in the middle of a civil war that would last for 15 years (1975-1990). Months and years of hardship, exposure to danger, and the uncertainty of the war’s outcome, as well as being physically cutoff from outside contact with friends, was weighing heavily. I was eager to visit to offer some support. Since I had never traveled there before, nor spoke the local language, I knew that I was helpless without a trustworthy guide. Fortunately a close Christian friend from Lebanon met me half-way on my journey and personally guided me through some unfamiliar territory, including check-points, road-blocks, physical danger, and some social, religious, and political hurdles as well. My guide got me safely to my destination. I literally owed my life to his safe-keeping. The Lord Jesus promised his followers that he would be their personal guide and friend who would lead them to the source of lasting peace, enduring friendship, and abundant life.
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
The disciples were surprised that Jesus was going to his Father’s house and would return to take them with him. And they were even more surprised when Jesus said he expected them to know the way to the Father’s house. Jesus’ answer to there question, “show us the way”, was both a reminder that his disciples should trust their Master and Teacher to show them the way, and a challenge for them to recognize that Jesus had intimate knowledge of God and where God came from. Jesus made a statement that invoked the very name which God had revealed to Moses, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14), and he made three claims which only God could make. He stated unequivocally to his disciples: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6)
Jesus proclaims: I am the Way (John 14:6). He alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with the Father from the beginning – before time and creation ever existed. The Lord Jesus gives us more than a road map and guide book. He personally is the way to the Father’s kingdom, and we cannot miss it if we follow him. He accompanies us on our daily journey and watches over us as the good shepherd who leads and sustains us each and every step of the way. Are you in step with the Lord and do you trust in his guiding hand for your life?
Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth (John 14:6). Many can say, “I have taught you the truth.” Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. He possesses in himself the fulness of truth. Jesus claims to be one with the Father and to speak the truth which proceeds from the Father. Jesus promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they would learn the truth and the truth would set them free” (John 8:31). The truth which Jesus proclaims has power to set us free from ignorance, deception, and sin. The words which Jesus speaks are true because there is no lie or falsehood in him. Moral truth requires more than mere words or ideas because the person who speaks them must be true – true in thought, speech, deed, example, and action. Jesus embodies the truth in his person.
Jesus proclaims that he is the Life (John 14:6). He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life which only God can give – abundant life that lasts forever. Is there any trouble, fear, or distraction that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ?
“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth.”