A41 THE WAY
St. John 10.vv.1-10
~ Jesus said, "Very truly", I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers. Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." ~
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14.v6). What more could we desire? Has not Jesus fulfilled (indeed transcended) all our aspirations, all that we crave in life? What more could he bestow upon us?
In the Old Testament one of the most frequent words is "Way". The ancient Jew, like his descendants and all people everywhere, sought their way in life, their path to peace and to God the perfecter of their peace. No one wishes to be lost on their pilgrimage through life. "Teach me your way, O Lord", says the Psalmist. The leaders and prophets of the Old Testament were convinced that God directed people in the way they should go. "You will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it. Turn neither to right or left'". But God does more than point out the way, for he promises to lead and be with his people on their journey. One can understand Moses saying, "If you will not go with us, we will not go!". How often I have lost my way when driving or walking but have asked the way and been told so cheerfully and generously, "Come with me. I'll take you there", or, "Follow me; it's not far out of my way". Jesus often said, "Follow me", and he still invites us to put our hand in his on what is so often a hazardous and thorny way through life. He is our constant companion, He does not simply point out the way. As our text implies - he personifies the Way - he is the Way.
"Teach me thy way that I may walk in they truth", says the Psalmist. "I have chosen the way of truth". We all hope that we teach the truth to others but none other than Jesus himself could claim to personify truth. Pilate asked, "What is truth?", not realising that the Truth stood before him in the person of Jesus Christ. "The truth will set you free", said Jesus on one occasion. We long for that freedom from ignorance, fear, and suspicion that we may know the truth about our identity, our purpose in life. Jesus tells us the truth about ourselves, about God's purposes for us, his care for us, his nature and his name of love. Jesus reveals the Father, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father", Jesus told Philip.
"Thou dost show me the path of life", says the Psalmist. What we seek is not "existence", it is ours already; nor do we crave everlasting life. What we seek is what Jesus offers us. "I am come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly". This is life eternal - a life full, free, abundant, meaningful, a new dimension to life, spiritual life, life with a capital "Z". "Zoe" (Aionios) the life of aeons, eternal life.
Jesus, then, shows us the way to God and peace.
Jesus shows us God.
Jesus offers us Life Eternal.
What more could we desire?