John 14:5-6 OUR LIFE JOURNEY
A sermon with the Anglican congregation of St. John’s,
Storrington, Ontario, May 9, 1993 by Robert
Each one of us here is on a life-journey. There are good days and bad days. We enjoy it when we have smooth sailing with pleasant breezes to help us. We also run into hurricanes and tornadoes, and we wonder if our ship can survive. Some of you have faced terrible storms in the past few months. On occasion we find unexpected treasures, and we feel rich and prosperous. But we know there is always a danger from pirates who will clean us out. And often we are tight for money.
The Apostle Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus gave him an amazing answer. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:5-6). Let’s take the first of those three, and ask ourselves how Jesus can be the way for our life-journey. Here are some facts to help us think about our faith in Jesus the Messiah
HE IS THE ONLY DESTINATION FOR LIFE
HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN GIVE US THE RIGHT DIRECTIONS
HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HELP US FACE THE DIFFICULTIES
1 When we say HE IS THE ONLY DESTINATION, we are talking about the end of our life journey. Where do we hope to arrive? Some people spend their life drifting here and there with no destination in mind. But we have heard Jesus’ words “I go to prepare a place for you.” And the city that is already prepared for us has “many dwelling places” (John 14:2). It is pictured for us in the Book of Revelation as a city with trees and a life-giving river running through the middle of it (Revelation 21:22-26). Each of us will have just the right home where we can both be private and go out to meet people of all nations. And we know that the moment we die we will have resurrection bodies that are freed to enjoy God’s kind of love.
When Jesus added the words “No one comes to the Father except through me” he was not suggesting that anyone would be excluded. He does not require intellectual understanding and believing the doctrines of some denomination. With him what counts is our heart longing. Anybody whose heart would enjoy the perfect love of heaven will be welcomed there. That of course includes little children who die in infancy. And people whose brains could never grasp who Jesus is and what he has in mind. It also includes people who have been raised in a religion of guilt and fear, but whose hearts long for a love they do not yet understand.
But God does not force people into the joys of heaven. For some reason, which none of us can understand, some may prefer the outer darkness where the light and love of God is totally excluded (John 3:19-21).
2 HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN GIVE US THE RIGHT DIRECTIONS At every fork of our lives Jesus our Lord knows the right way for us to go. As John Bunyan pictured in his Pilgrim’s Progress there are many ways into deep trouble. We can land in the slough of despond. By-pass meadow is very appealing. That is true in marriage, choosing a job, raising children, running a business or a country, facing a crisis of any kind. But Jesus knows the outcome in every situation, and he can keep us on the right path in every situation of each of our lives. One could say that he has faced the temptations that every one of us will face. As the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us, “We have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
He said “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road that leads to destruction is easy to choose” (Matthew 7:13). But that does not mean the Messiah asks us to be narrow-minded in the wrong sense. There are many ways for a photographer to produce a poor picture. Which means that if we want a picture for our family to enjoy we have to be narrow minded about the aperture, the speed, the focus, and getting the direction and framing exactly right. Every craftsman, eye-surgeon, musician, great artist has to be exacting if he or she wants perfection. All the more in our dealings with others. There are many ways to be rude, proud, unfeeling, careless and unloving. Jesus is delighted when we begin to learn the perfection of loving from him.
3 HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HELP US FACE THE DIFFICULTIES He has all the resources at his disposal for enabling us to cope with insoluble problems. Without him, people muddle along, waste money, use drugs, get drunk, give themselves up to despair. But Jesus can show us how to pray for what is needed in every situation.. He can give us the Holy Spirit for all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness that we will need (Galatians 5:22).
When you are trying to hit a rat on the head, it runs desperately to find the way out. And similarly when Satan is trying to flatten us, we need a way out. Which is why Paul wrote, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). In his own case, after six hours of terrible torture on the cross, Jesus found the way out through death. You remember how he said to the thief who was crucified beside him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus will show us that way out when we ourselves have come to the end of the road. But meanwhile he promises to be with us and help us in every disaster that hits us on the way.