In today’s Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer, we find Jesus speaking these well-known words:
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:6, 9b; NIV)
For most of my life, I’ve been taught the straightforward message of this statement: Only through Jesus can anyone enter into a relationship with God. And make no mistake: I believe that! I believe that the only way anyone receives the gift of salvation is through the incarnation, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord (although – I also believe that some of our nice,tidy summaries of what it means to receive salvation through Jesus run the risk of taking a grace-filled mystery and turning it into little more than a bumper-sticker slogan).
However, I’ve also been taught a message about this statement that I wonder if we run the risk of forgetting at times. Yes, Jesus is the only way to the Father. But we can’t come to the Father through Jesus unless we come through His way, His truth and His life. We must come through His way – of forsaking “power as force” and of reaching beyond barriers to embrace those who are different than ourselves. We must come through His truth – about loving our enemies and about filling our lives with heavenly treasures rather than earthly ones. We must come through His life – of extending grace to those who don’t deserve it (because none of us deserve it) – and of pouring ourselves out in service to others rather than being served by others.
Today, may God the Father give us the grace of coming to Him through Jesus. And – having come to the Father through Jesus – may we embrace the Way, the Truth and the Life of Jesus – so that we may truly see the Father – and so that others may see the Father through us.