14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
5 Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”
6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”
9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do. (John 14:1-14 The Message)
How do you say goodbye? Perhaps with a hug or a handshake and a few words like, “See you later,” or “Good seeing you again.”
How do you say goodbye for the last time? The feelings run a whole lot deeper. Memories with the dying loved one sweep across your eyes. You feel the pain, perhaps anger, because you haven’t had enough time. There’s never enough time.
How do you say goodbye?
Jesus sat at the Passover meal with his disciples, knowing it was his last meal; his last time alone with his friends. According to the writer of John’s Gospel, he washed their feet. Like a servant or a slave, he took their dirty, ugly feet into his hands and washed them clean.
“Wash each other’s feet from now on,” he told them. “Love one another just as I’ve loved you.”
It must have been an awe inspiring moment for them. Until the bad news arrived. He’s going to betrayed. Not by an outsider, but by one of his own. Peter announces that he’ll follow him into death. “No, Peter. You can’t come with me. Yet. And don’t get ahead of yourself. You’ll deny me three times before the cock crows.”
Oh my. This is bad news indeed. The air is somber; filled with grief and confusion. Jesus has given the disciples TMI: Too Much Information.
Their situation is no better than any other Messiah wandering the hills of Galilee and Judea. He’ll be betrayed just as others have been betrayed. He’ll be killed as others have been killed. This wasn’t supposed to happen! Not to Jesus! He was different. His ministry was different.
Betrayal and denying and death weren’t supposed to happen to Jesus. This news is a crushing blow. Jesus’ next words are important, because they are words of comfort.
“Don’t let this throw you.” (John 14:1 The Message) It’s going to be okay. You see, there’s hope. We’ll meet again. Not just in three days, but in eternity. There’s a place for you there and I’m going to prepare that place for you. I’ll be back to take you there.
Thomas, the inquisitive one, asks a good question. “We don’t know where you’re going. How are we supposed to get there?”
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NRSV)
These words have been used to comfort and to guide. They’ve also been used as a reason to hurt, even to kill. But, look at the context. Would Jesus share bad news and then tell his disciples that some people are “out” while they are “in”? Or was he trying to comfort them with words they could hang onto through the ordeal to come?
What is Jesus’ “way?” To find it, we must look at the broader view. Jesus healed the sick, ministered to the ill at heart. He built relationships, met people where they were. He taught and he listened.
And so shall we. We heal the sick by the miracle of conversation and connection in the presence of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. We minister to the ill at heart when we sit and listen and offer prayer. We build relationships wherever we go. We teach and are taught.
We learn about those who aren’t like us: the poor, the wealthy, the middle class; people of color, Asians, Anglo; Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu. We offer peace when we build bridges instead of walls.
Are we in and everyone else out?
One answer to is to look at the end of the Gospel of John. Peter turns and sees the beloved disciple whom Jesus loved. He asks Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come what is that to you? Follow me!” (John 21:21-22 NRSV)
In other words, “that’s none of your business.”
The other answer I offer is later in our reading. Jesus concludes this part of his farewell, by advising the disciples that, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NRSV)
In other words, “there’s work to be done. Get moving!”
For Christians, we call our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For Christians, the only way to the father is through him. Jesus says that he has other sheep. It not up to us to judge. Our only possible way, is to follow the way of Jesus and keep working for the kingdom.
The rest of it is none of our business.
I find that statement restful. I don’t have to worry about others. That’s God’s job. Mine is to follow in the way that Jesus walked, praying constantly for guidance and the right words to speak.
That’s how we live eternally, today.
All glory and honor be to God.