“Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”’ John 14:6
When I was younger, this verse meant that Jesus was the only way. I was assured by my pastor that Christians had the inside track to heaven because we knew that the only way to God was through belief in Jesus. This verse was lifted out of its context to prove that Christians, and only certain kinds of Christians, would end up in heaven. This way became narrow and confined, an amalgam of right living and right belief, with Jesus as the doorkeeper sorting out the true believers from everyone else.
When we put this verse in its context, it becomes harder to follow. At this point in his ministry, Jesus was on his way to the Cross. If he is the way, then the way is hard, it involves suffering, it involves death. If he is the truth, then his truth is to love God and our neighbor. If he is the life, then life is found in relationship with God and one another. Instead of blocking the door, Jesus opened the door. He has flung it wide open, rolled away the stone, and opened the gates. Jesus has ended the sting of death and invited us all to follow him. The way involves loss, and the way involves dying, but the truth is that Jesus, through his death, has given us life. He is the way to God, let us follow him.
Prayer: Compassionate God, give me the courage to follow you. Help me to find your way of loving you and loving others. Give me the strength to share your truth. Thank you for everlasting life. Amen.
Lisa Hansen is a retired Air Force Chaplain who now serves as a pastor in Pasadena, CA. An ally for the LGBTQIA+ community, she advocated for the end of “Don’t Ask, “Don’t Tell.” She enjoys hiking, movies, and watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.