ACTS 6:1-7 | 1 PETER 2:4-9 | JOHN 14:1-12
The gospel today is taken from John’s account of the Last Supper. If we were to read the entire passage, we’d realize that this meal is one long emotional roller coaster. It begins: “Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.” Whatever he does and says at this last meal is of the upmost importance. It’s his LAST chance to get his disciples to understand who he is, and why he came. So, he washes the disciples’ feet instructing them to do the same for one another. He announces to the group that one of them will betray him. He gives them a new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” He concludes by predicting Peter’s denial!
After all that, Jesus looks at these fragile men gathered around the table and says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” What a statement! In a few hours their world is going to implode. Judas will sell Jesus to the religious leaders for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus will be arrested, and finally executed by crucifixion. These men, his closest disciples, will abandon him. Peter will deny that he ever knew him.
Trying to calm his disciples hearts, Jesus continues to teach them. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself; where I am going you know the way.” Then Thomas, the disciple who will not believe that Jesus rose from the dead unless he touches the nail marks, asks the most important question of the evening. “We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way.”
These disciples had followed him for three years. They’d given up everything for him, home, family, occupations. They felt that none of this was in vain because they believed Jesus was the Messiah. They didn’t know how,
but they were sure that he was going to overthrow the Roman occupation. He was going to set up a glorious Jewish kingdom, even more powerful than that of David and Solomon, and they would rule with him. They felt they had a glorious future ahead of them.
The answer Jesus gives to Thomas is the most important teaching any of them would ever hear. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.”
Jesus’ teaching seemed like riddle to the disciples at the time. They knew Jesus. They traveled with him. They camped with him. They ate with him. They witnessed the great catch of fish. They saw him walk on the water. They listened to him when he delivered the sermon on the mount. They saw him heal. They saw him raise Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter from the dead. These events were spectacular miracles. They saw miracles but failed to understand the meaning behind them.
“If you know me, then, you will also know my Father.” That was his message to the disciples the night of the Last Supper. That’s his message to us, today. Our hearts need to burn within us when we see him in the scriptures. Our hearts need to be touched by the miracles he performs. We need to truly recognize him when he gives us the bread to break and share. When we truly recognize him, our hearts will beat in sync with his, and with the Father’s. We mustn’t forget this most intimate and important teaching, and use it as the map to the Father’s heart. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.”