Theme of the Week: Who Is Jesus?
Bible Verse: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6
Scripture Reading: John 13:1-39, 14:1-31
Have you ever tried to imagine what the last supper was like? We celebrate the meaning of Jesus’s words in anticipation of his coming work. We marvel at his humility, as He, the Lord of the universe, bows to wash the feet of His disciples. We relax and rest in the comfort He offers through the promise of His return and the coming of the Spirit.
All of this is good and right. From our position in the future, with the blessing of the whole story in front of our eyes, we cannot help but stand in awe at the scene and its significance.
But what must the disciples have felt? This may have actually been one of the most awkward dinner parties in history. Jesus, embodies His own words by stooping to wash the disciples’ feet, only to be once again hindered by Peter. Peter, understanding (a little) what Jesus was doing, takes it too far and makes it awkward again.
Then Jesus predicts that one of them, one who has seen and heard everything for the last three years, is going to betray Him.
As if that is not enough to make everyone deeply uncomfortable, Jesus follows that with the proclamation that Peter is going to deny him. That’s salt in the wound! Peter, probably still red-faced from his foot-washing faux-pas, says that he would die for Jesus only to be told that, in fact, he would deny even knowing Jesus.
That alone is enough for a memorably awkward dinner. But Jesus has also told this group of men with whom he has shared his life for the last three years, that He is going away . . .
Understandably confused (and we shouldn’t imagine the disciples handled this stoically), the disciples, led by Thomas, and perhaps finally pushed to a breaking point by all these confusing events and words, finally ask how they can possibly know the way to where Jesus is going if they don’t where that destination is!
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” One wonders if those words brought any clarity to the disciples’ confusion.
Jesus has claimed to be the life already (see yesterday’s devotional). And soon, he will tell a Roman ruler that He is the truth. But the part that Thomas and the others are concerned with was that first identifier. Jesus is the way. It is still a concern for us. What does it mean that Jesus is the way?
Of course, we can point to His death that takes the punishment for our sin so that we can be set in right relationship with God. But we should not overlook Jesus’s life as an equal part of His being the way to God.
As the second Adam (see Rom. 5), Jesus did what the first Adam could not. He lived a life that fulfilled our Creator’s intentions. He lived in perfect obedience and fulfilled the requirements of righteousness (see Matt. 3:14-16). His life showed us who we were intended to be.
When we think of Jesus as the way, think not just of His death and resurrection, but also his life (and ascension) as opening the way to the Father.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for showing us how to live. Thank you for living the life I could not and dying the death I deserved. Help me to walk in the way you have shown.
Reflection: When you talk about Jesus offering salvation, do you speak of His life and death? How does Christ’s perfect life impact you?
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