5th Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2017
“How Can We Know the Way?”
Grace, mercy, and peace be and abide with you all in the name of our living Savior Jesus. The basis for the sermon is today’s assigned and familiar Gospel lesson from John 14.
My dear friends,
John 14:1-6, a portion of today’s Gospel lesson, is so well-known by people because it is traditionally the Gospel lesson for a Christian funeral. These words of Jesus are such words of comfort, words of hope, words of eternal promise: “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” (John 14:1-3 ESV). This statement is followed with “And you know the way to where I am going.” The disciple Thomas then said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:4-5 ESV). Indeed, Thomas, indeed. How can we know the way?
I am comfortably sure Thomas and the boys didn’t know where Jesus was headed (his arrest, trials, cross, and death), so naturally they didn’t know the way or at least didn’t understand Him. And has that problem ever gone away? Do people in our age see Jesus as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (14:6)? At best – AT BEST – Jesus is considered today as a way among lots of other ways. Now, everyone seems to have bought into the same lie. Every “way” is valid, every way is “acceptable,” no one’s way is more “right” than another. Friends, I know it plays well on TV, but this age of inclusivity and lack of moral absolutes is killing us spiritually. It is killing our children and grandchildren spiritually. And the worst part of it is…we did it to ourselves. We allowed evolution into classrooms, we allowed the removal of crosses and Bibles from public places, we allowed moral filth into our homes and movie theaters, and then we wonder how come kids no longer know the way. We wonder why they stopped carry Bibles and started carrying cell phones, pills, drugs, and guns. We stopped telling our kids to love their neighbor, so they started making hit lists and death threats. And then we wonder why the “young people” are not in church? We stopped showing people the Way, and then wonder why so many have either lost sight of or completely lost the way.
It’s 2017. Times have changed. Countries, governments, policies, and social norms have been drawn, erased, re-drawn, and re-erased like images on a dry erase boards. History has marched on like a steamroller since 33 AD. But one constant has not and will not EVER change: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ESV). Jesus is the only way, the only cure, for this sin-sick world we live in. That doesn’t mean we don’t like sinners or those different from us. On the contrary! We are called to reach out to them in love so that they too would know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus’ claim is exclusive – you bet – for He is the ONLY way to God the Father. But that doesn’t mean we exclude others from knowing Him. Instead we are called to not only know Christ but to make Him known so that all would come to a saving knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
Jesus is the way. The ONLY way. EVERY DAY is a chance to live knowing that Jesus is the Way, He is the Truth, and He is the life even when your life is filled with chaos and pain and uncertainty. As a Church and as a nation we can find our way – our moral compass – again, but the only way that can be done is by following Christ Jesus and His life-changing, sin-forgiving, Word.
This means you may have to take some risks! Nurture your children and your grandchildren in their baptismal faith. Be there for your teens who can be troubled and conflicted and addicted. Spend less time with your noses in social media and get back into the greatest media resource this planet has ever or will ever know…the divinely-breathed, inspired, eternal and holy Word of God. If we as the Church are going to be missional at all, we need less Facebook and more time in the “Good Book.”
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the former agnostic turned Christian, once wrote: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about [Jesus]: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).
So…what say you? Is Jesus the Son of God or something worse than a madman? You know the answer to that. And because He IS the Son of God, we can and will re-find the Way for He is the Way and the truth and the life. I know life is hard and faith can be a hard thing to live out. But live confidently in your Baptismal grace. Live confidently in your confirmation vows. And live confidently in knowing Jesus, your Lord and Savior, as the only Way, Truth, and Life everlasting.
Happy Mother’s Day!