I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

It’s the evening before Jesus’s execution. The day – the entire week – has been filled with conflict and high drama. Jesus and the Twelve have just eaten the Passover Seder, which was different from any Passover meal they had eaten before.

Following the meal, Jesus says something that shocks and frightens them: he won’t be with them much longer. He is going to leave and they can’t go with him (John 13:33). So Peter asks Jesus where he is going. When Jesus’s answer doesn’t satisfy him, he asks: “Why can’t I go with you?” Though Jesus does not directly answer his question, he makes it clear that he must travel the path that lies ahead alone. Neither Peter nor the rest can accompany him.

It was in this setting that Jesus spoke the now famous words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” But their hearts are troubled. When Jesus says, “You know the way to the place I am going,” Thomas gets frustrated and blurts out: “We don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus’s answer to that question unveils the sixth of the seven great I AM statements in the Gospel of John: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” If these men could understand this, they would be able to keep their hearts untroubled. They would be able to trust God. If we could understand this, we could do the same.

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