Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
And here we have some terrified disciples. Followers of Jesus. That are about to go through a serious change up to their way of life cause their leader is going to get killed. The honest disciple, the one who asks the tough questions, lays this out. “What in the world are we supposed to do now if we don’t know where you are going?” Jesus in a sense is telling his boys to relax. ” You got this. You’ve seen me and I’ve been showing you the way all along, I’ve been showing you the father all along.” Jesus is showing the way to someone asking the question. He is not making a statement that is telling the world that everybody needs to believe in him or they aren’t going to make it to heaven.
In no way, no matter what way you look at this situation, is Jesus excluding people with this answer to the fears of the disciples. This isn’t even close to what is happening here. For the modern church to hijack Christ’s words to promote exclusion of people who don’t believe what they do is to grossly misrepresent Christ.
What is blatant throughout all the gospels is Jesus’ call to a particular kind of living that rejects religious morality, the privilege of inclusion and power structures. What is confusing about evangelical Christianity is the continual ignorance of Jesus’ call and persistence to the opposite.
Jesus’ call is one of humility, self-emptying, love and peace. The only way to God/Heaven is by answering this call. Christianity as an institution has not answered this call. Christianity has been more concerned with self-preservation, boundaries of belief, trying to follow the rules and the experience of feeling good. The gospel is the good news that nothing you can do (in your head or with your body) can earn or allow God’s favour. You already have it. The only ones that will be left out are those who cannot stomach the idea that we all have it. Acknowledge this reality and live in the love of Christ.
The reason I am a Christian is because the way of Jesus is the only way for me to live. I don’t see any other option, because everything else has failed for me. The way of Jesus is one of giving up not holding on. It’s one of death of self, not life of institutions. I have not seen or experienced any other way to achieve life, meaning or happiness. Have you? Only if I die, can I find God.
The way of Jesus has little to do with what theology I believe, or what I think happens after we die, or if my brain can wrap my head around some sort of dogmatic explanation on salvation. Actually, the way of Jesus has nothing to do with what I think. The way of Jesus is not a way to think. The way of Jesus is a way of love. Without it, you cannot find God.
Anyone is capable of this path, and in many cases, those that don’t have Christianity to deal with, are more capable.
The way of Jesus, which is the way to God, is a way for you if you are scared. It’s a way for you if you don’t know what way to go. It’s a way for you when you feel alone. It’s a way for you when you are a victim or if you are sick. It’s a way for you when you have hurt someone else. It’s a way for you when you realize that everything is meaningless. It’s a way for you when you lack hope. It’s a way for you when you have hope.
It’s not the way for you if you need answers to your questions. It’s not the way for you if you need results that you demand. It’s not a way for you if you need your prayers answered. It’s not the way for you if you want your own way. It’s not a way for you if you are healthy. It’s not the way for you if you need to be right. It’s not the way for you if need to win. It’s not the way for you if you need your life to come together. It’s not the way for you if you are determined to show someone else why they aren’t part of your club.
The way to God is a way of life which is marked by self-sacrifice for others and Jesus has shown us what that looks like to the extreme. To reduce Jesus to a set of beliefs that one must hold is to turn Christ into the anti-Christ and make a mockery of what God is. To have assurance and assume you will make it to heaven because of some belief you have, or the way you have it together is to be deceived and is a false gospel.
The only way to God is through a removal of yourself, and to do that takes a kind of humility that only the doubters have, only the honest one’s have. Jesus reveals to us who God is, what love is and the way to be fully human. It really is beautiful. You should join in.