Updated: Jul 15
“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 ESV). This is Jesus’ response to Thomas’ question, which he asked in verse 5, “Thomas said to Him (Jesus), ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’”
Now, a quick background on Thomas. He was one of the original 12 disciples who followed Jesus during His brief 3-year ministry on Earth. He is also often referred to as “Doubting Thomas,” as he was known for doubting things he had not seen firsthand; his most noteworthy moment of doubt was when he didn’t believe the disciples when they said Jesus had indeed risen from the grave (after being scourged and crucified) and appeared to many of them.
I’ll leave you to discover for yourself what happened next (see John 20:24-29), but I will say one thing: Thomas’ skepticism proves Jesus is okay with questions. In fact, He encourages them. Why else would He have chosen a man known for his doubts to be one of His main followers? Jesus is God of the universe, I think He could have chosen anyone He wanted. Yet, He chose Thomas. Doubting Thomas.
Anyway, back to the interaction between Thomas and Jesus recorded in John. Leading up to Thomas’ question in verse five and Jesus’ response in verse six, Jesus was telling His disciples He would be leaving them soon. Physically that is. In John 14:1-5 it reads:
“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’”
This place to which Jesus is referring, one within His Father’s house? It’s Heaven.
Yes, Heaven is a real place, and it is where everyone who believes in Jesus will spend eternity—in their very own room which Jesus prepared specifically for each of them.
Oh, how I cannot wait for such a day!
Yes, Heaven is a real place, and it is where everyone who believes in Jesus will spend eternity—their very own room which Jesus prepared specifically for each of them.
But before we all get excited and start planning color schemes and furniture arrangements, let’s hone in on Jesus’ response in verse six again: “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
Did you catch that? Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life. No one gets to the Father (God and therefore, Heaven) except through Jesus.
Take a moment and let that sink in.
Now, let me ask you this: Do you believe it? Let me rephrase it. Does your life reflect your complete belief in the statement above, so that everything you say, do and think points back to that truth? In a way where your spiritual practices revolve around a holy reverence for Jesus and your desire to know Him? In a way where you, your family and even your greater church family resemble the church described in the book of Acts (Acts 2:42-47), down to a tee?
Yeah, me neither.
So where have we gone wrong? When did we lose our utter infatuation with God and replace it with a desire for more church activities and programs? How did we go from a people who prayed together, broke bread together, studied the Word together, served together, gave away all their belongings together and worshipped together seemingly all day, every day to a people who may go to a building once or twice a month, mumble a song or two and sit in a chair/pew for 10-20 minutes while someone else reads a couple verses from the Bible (if at all) and prays for 30 seconds on our behalf, all just for us to rush out the door and “get on with our day?”
Church, what happened?
Yes, we say Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, but are we pursuing this way, His way? Are we even on the same side of the street as Jesus or are we like the priest and the Levite, passing by Him on the other side of the street as He stands there being mocked and defiled by the world (see the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37)?
Are we really taking up our cross and following Jesus (Matthew 10:38-39) or are we taking up our comfy seat (and for some of us, a comfy recliner in our pajamas) every Sunday and half-listening to a sermon that makes us feel better about ourselves, all just so we can boast about going to church to our “non-Christian” friends?
Yes, we say Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, but are we pursuing this way, His way?
These words aren’t easy to hear, nor were they easy to write, but we need to hear them. Not with our definition of hearing, but Jesus’ definition (Luke 8:15, 18).
As the Church—the American Church, in particular—we ALL have fallen short of God’s original design of the Church. Yes, we serve a loving, forgiving God who knows our sinful tendencies and whose Son willingly gave Himself to bear the punishment for our sins, but that does not negate our accountability.
In fact, Scripture tells us the opposite. In Hebrews 10:26, it reads, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin.” And again in Luke 12:48, “‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.’”
God has entrusted us with His body. He has entrusted us with the privilege of sharing His good news with others and leading them to eternal salvation in Him. He has entrusted us with the responsibility of representing Him to an unbelieving world and showing the joy it will bring.
God has entrusted us to serve alongside Him and heal a broken land.
God has entrusted us to see His beauty in every good thing and praise His name for all the good He has bestowed upon us.
God has entrusted us with His blood. His body. His life.
What are we doing with it? Catching the latest sermon while sitting on our couches and sipping a latte? Deciding which church building to attend based on what songs are played or how exciting the pastor makes his sermon? Preaching to non-believers the dangers of hell while many of us can’t recall the Greatest Commandment?
Church, it’s time to wake up. This isn’t a game. There’s no reset button.
We are all accountable for ourselves, and we will all be judged accordingly (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 2:6-11). Unlike the judgment of the world, this judgment will not be based on appearances or even whether we were a “good” person while on Earth.
It is based on whether you believe in the One, True God, Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 36). It is based on whether you have given Jesus your everything—all your mind, body, soul and strength—out of pure love for, reverence of and obedience to Him (Romans 10:9).
It is based on whether you have given Jesus your everything—all your mind, body, soul and strength—out of pure love for, reverence of and obedience to Him (Romans 10:9).
God isn’t keeping track of how many times you go to church. He’s keeping track of how much of your heart you’ve given to Him.
What does your record show?
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.
This post originally appeared on County News Online.