July 26, 2020, John 14:1-14 – ISSL Reflections

This week we turn our attention to a much read passage in the Gospel of John.

John 13 marks the beginning of what we often call the “Upper Room Discourse.” It is the setting of Jesus’ last actions and words with The Twelve before he is taken prisoner. It ends with chapter 17 and Jesus’ prayer for the disciples present with him and those who will come to follow him through their witness and words.

This week we focus on chapter 14 where we hear Jesus claim to be “the way, and the truth and the life.” Many people, as this passage is read, seem to focus almost exclusively on the words, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” I ask you to not let that hinder you from paying attention to the interaction between Jesus and a couple of his followers.

That being said, let’s give our attention to what happens,

John 14:1-14 (NRSV)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

Notice the questions that are put to Jesus.

Jesus tells them, “And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas takes execution with what Jesus claims and says, “… we do not know where … we do not know the way…”

If they have been walking with Jesus through Galilee and Judea for several years, hearing him teach them and all the others who come to Jesus, and seeing him restore health and life to people, does it seem reasonable they have learned so little from him? Is Thomas (or the others) at such a loss for direction?

What might Jesus have felt healing Thomas?

Then after Jesus connects his way with the way to the Father, Philip says they will be “satisfied” if Jesus shows them the Father.

So Philip (and others?) need something more from Jesus to be satisfied, to know they have “really” seen the Father?

Do we ever ask something similar of Jesus?

What of the “Way” have you already learned from Jesus? Can you recall any words or actions of Jesus that have opened for you seeing the “Way” and walking along that path?

For that matter, what of the “Father” are you already seeing?

How can Jesus help you walk the “Way” and see the “Father” more clearly?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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