December 5, 2018

The Way

By: Larry Shaffer

My daughter Brooke made this sign for her friends who are Dallas Cowboy fans!

The Way 

John 14, part three 

Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way? Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you Know Him and have seen Him.’ 

Some of you may say you’re not into Doctrine or Theology, just give me Jesus. I’m going to try to be polite, but that is one of the most naïve and ignorant statements a Christian can make. Sorry, that wasn’t very polite.

The couple of verses above that Jesus spoke are filled with some of the most profound Theological Doctrine in the Bible. Knowing Jesus isn’t just about being sentimental and feeling warm. It’s also about knowing the truth. Theology is the study of God. How can a Christian NOT be into the study of God?  

The disciples are afraid, uncertain and a little confused. Jesus gives them comforting words, yes, but He also knows they need TRUTH; and they need to KNOW the TRUTH in order to withstand the pressure they will soon bear. The pursuit of knowing the Truth is the pursuit of Theological Doctrine.  In Philippians 1:9, Paul says, and this I pray, that your love may bound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent. Love for Jesus is fueled by knowledge and discernment.  

Do you want Jesus? Do you want the TRUTH about Jesus? Do you want to know who He really is and what He really teaches? Gotcha! You’re a theologian and you didn’t even know it! 

Back to the story. Jesus tells them that they know the way where He is going. Our struggling theologian, ‘Doubting’ Thomas asks, Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way? Jesus replies, I am the way, the truth, the life... this is a little subtle, but notice that Thomas asks for a roadmap? He asks for directions? What address do I plug into my GPS? 

Jesus said, you know the way. Thomas replied and said, we don’t know, show us the way. Jesus didn’t give him a roadmap or process steps to find the Way. Jesus simply said, I AM THE WAY. The Way is not a place; it’s not a step-by-step process; it’s not a map with point-to-point directions. The Way is the person of Jesus. 

What is different about Christianity and every other religion? Every other religion teaches that the path to God, to enlightenment, to heaven, etc., resides within the person to do certain things, to follow a process, to jump through certain hoops. For us, it is simply Jesus. Receive and believe Jesus. You don’t have to be moving or doing or following a system of rules. You can just sit, be still and receive Jesus.  

Once you sincerely and truly believe and receive Jesus, then you are changed from the inside and your new focus in life is to turn from sin and follow Jesus. Other religions say that you must change, act differently, do certain things and then you may attain heaven. To them, the doing and obeying and rituals come first and earns the way to God. It’s the opposite with Jesus. Be still and know that I am God. Now, after you have made peace with God, then Go and sin no more, with the new heart that He has given you and the Holy Spirit who now is in you. 

Lord, religious guilt has a strong hold on some of my readers. For them, I pray that they would seek peace with You not by performing rituals or pursuing works to please you. Lead them to rest in You for You are the way, the truth and the life. Change their hearts and then guide them to follow their new hearts with actions that honors You from a heart of joy.