““Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 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? 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. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 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 know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” NRSV
The conversation begins with Jesus talking about the many dwelling places in the Father’s house. We would call God’s house, “heaven.” Jesus assumes that after all the time the disciples have spent with him, after all Jesus taught them, and after all the miracles they witnessed Jesus perform, they know exactly what he means when he says, “And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Jesus assumed incorrectly.
The (ever-doubting) Thomas responds, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” This prompts maybe Jesus’ most famous declaration, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
Jesus’ words are too often taken out of their context. When Jesus, “I am the way,” he is talking about being the way that leads to the many dwelling places in God’s house. By his life, Jesus models the way all of must live our lives if we hope to arrive in the “Father’s house” when out days on earth are done.
When Jesus says, I am “the truth,” he is essentially saying, “I am telling you the truth about my special role in preparing you for your eternal dwelling place in the Father’s house.”
When Jesus says, I am “the life,” he is saying, my life is the kind of life the faithful must lead. The two great commandments are the foundation for such a life.
In eight words, Jesus summarizes the roadmap we must follow if we are heaven bound.
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