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John’s gospel post 63: Satnav

January 26, 2014

“Tired and weary, I follow the path
that leads to your door
but it occurred to me, all that I have
is already yours
But I can’t find my way” – Phil Collins – Can’t find my way (from the album “Both sides”)

John 14:4 – 6

So there you have it. Jesus is going away but he’s getting their rooms ready. Then he’s going to come back and take them there too. Encouraging news.

For, as Jesus said:

“You know the way to where I am going”.

The disciples all nod. There’s a collective mumbled “yes of course”.

But then there is a lone voice that speaks up. It’s him again. Remember Thomas?

Yeah he was the brave pessimistic one in the Lazarus story who encouraged the other disciples, with a tone something like Eeyore’s, “let’s go with him and die with him”.

Pessimistic yes maybe. But brave as we said before. If he really thought there was such danger he could have turned away and run a mile. But the disciple who often gets such a bad press was loyal to his master if nothing else.

He’s not taking anything for granted.

And he’s got a question in response to Jesus’ “you know the way to where I am going”, and it’s a good question.

“Um actually Lord, I hope you don’t mind me saying this but actually we don’t know where you’re going. So err, how are we supposed to know the directions”. I mean this is a principle which still holds true. You can’t get directions on the Satnav or google maps, if you can’t tell them your destination. Maybe this is why some are called Tom Tom (other makes are available…)

Brave. Loyal. Add honest to Tom’s list of qualities. He may not be the life and soul. But my guess is that this wasn’t just Tom’s question. There were other puzzled disciples. But he was the one who voiced it. He wanted to understand.

Have you ever been like that in the presence of Jesus. The preaching is spot on. Everyone else is lost in worship. You mumble an “Amen”, but actually you want to say to God “Sorry but I don’t get it. I do struggle with doubts. I am confused. If I’m honest I’m not full of faith today”.

That’s not the time I believe to brush your questions under the carpet! it’s the time to ask God the tough questions that are in your heart and mind. You are almost certainly not alone.

You’ve been in the classroom or on that course where you haven’t understood the teacher. You can remain in your confusion or risk loss of face by putting your hand up and asking.

Maybe it’s time to talk to the preacher or trusted Christian friend and be honest about your struggles.

Tom got his answer. And it is one of Jesus’ most famous statements about himself. It is another of his most outrageous claims, and would we have had this if Tom had not had the nerves to raise his hand?

The destination is to be with the Father. “I’m taking you to my Father’s house. And you do know the way. I AM the way”.

Again I AM. Those dangerous words for a Jew. Jesus claims deity and then uniqueness.

“I AM the way the truth and the life”.

“I’m the road. I am the way to God. I am the truth. Everything that is right is in me. I am the life. You can only find life in me. You may think you do not have all the answers but you have ME. And I am all you need”.

And that’s the strange thing. We may get the answers to our questions. Often we will not. Sometimes the answer is not fully satisfactory. But the answerer is Jesus. All the solutions are in him. We will not solve all our puzzles in this life. But something tells me, actually Jesus tells me, that he is completely sufficient. He can be fully trusted. Even in the dark, when I just cannot see or hear him.

And of course Jesus goes further. “NO ONE comes to the Father except through me”. Now that’s an unpopular claim. Christians are criticised for such presumption. But actually I am always reminded, it wasn’t me who made this claim. It is my Lord and teacher.

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