International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday May 27, 2012
Purpose: To explore how Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” for us
Scripture Text: John 14:1-14
John 14:1-14 (NRSV)
(1) "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. (4) And you know the way to the place where I am going." (5)Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" (6)Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (7) If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." (8) Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." (9) Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father'? (10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. (11) Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. (12) Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. (13) I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This week's chosen text is one that is very familiar to even those that hardly ever go to church. It is one of the more popular texts chosen to comfort those grieving at many funerals. Jesus uses these words to prepare the disciples for his departure. Trying to convey to them that even when it looks like death and evil are about to win, there is a greater power, the harmony between Jesus and God, and how when we allow ourselves to join that harmony, there is no end to what can be accomplished.
A first reading of this passage may not extract the full meaning. Throughout this Gospel, the word place might better be referred to as relationships. So when we take a second look at this passage, we see the relationship between the Father and the Son. And in this relationship there is plenty of room for others to join in. Because Jesus will soon return to the Father, then all of us have an opportunity to join in that relationship that exists between Father and Son. The anticipation of Jesus’ promised return and a reconciliation of those that believe God the Father and Jesus the Son will share a dwelling place and have an eternal relationship kept the early church vigilant and in anticipation of Jesus return.
Thomas seems to miss the point that “the way and the destination” are two separate things, “knowing the way,” and knowing where we are going are not the same thing. “Knowing the way” means knowing Jesus, “the Father's house” is our destination. The term “the way” was used by the Jews as a metaphor for “life with God.” And in the Book of Acts those that followed Jesus were called, “the followers of the way.” When Jesus combines “the way,” with truth and life, reminding us and the disciples as the Word, Jesus reveals to everyone the great truth; in becoming flesh Jesus is able to reveal God to everyone and he becomes the ultimate witness to God's truth. Jesus becomes the “life” because he was not only part of the creation story, he is now a part of the salvation story for all of humankind.
The only way for us to experience God, is through Jesus. Because we know Jesus we can also know God. I know this thought may not set well with those that prefer a more liberal translation, but it is what Jesus said.
Poor Phillip, he had spent three years with Jesus and he still does not understand the relationship between Jesus and the Father. If you want to know God, know Jesus. If you want your prayers answered join Jesus and God in a relationship. That relationship will allow you to know the mind of Christ, and Christ knows the mind of God, hence you the Father and Son are of one mind.
Paul said it this way in Philippians 2:5, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”