John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
This is a passage of many well known Scripture texts:
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me”
- “I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also”
- “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”
- “If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
These texts have been lovingly passed down from one generation to the next. They have brought comfort to people who have lost a loved one, they have offered hope of salvation to those who thought that they were rejected by God, and they have offered courage to people who are praying for help.
Unfortunately these texts have also been used to suggest that Christ-followers can claim special favour from God; and to teach that Christ-followers alone are to occupy the “many rooms” that Jesus is preparing; and that adherents of all other belief systems – and of no beliefs at all – will be damned for all eternity. This is nothing more than selective “proof-texting” in order to justify a prejudice about people of other faiths.
It is time to resist self-serving Christians who use the words of Jesus to claim that the love of God is reserved only for Christians. In the same way that Jesus welcomed anyone and everyone, so we too need to learn how to offer God’s love to all who come our way.
“Whosoever heareth,” shout, shout the sound!
Spread the blessèd tidings all the world around;
Spread the joyful news wherever man is found;
“Whosoever will may come.”
“Whosoever will, whosoever will,”
Send the proclamation over vale and hill;
’Tis a loving Father, calls the wanderer home:
“Whosoever will, may come.”
Words & Music: Philip P. Bliss
Ordinary 21 / Pentecost +14
43 Jesus is the Way
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 266.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.