The disciples were VERY troubled! For 3 years they have followed this Jewish Rabbi who they believed to be the Messiah. But now he was full of crazy talk. He was talking about his impending death. He was talking about betrayal among the ranks of the disciples. He was saying that where he was going the disciples could not follow. He was predicting that even Peter, his most stalwart follower, would deny Him – not just once but three times. Crazy talk as far as these guys were concerned. So their hearts were VERY troubled!
So Jesus answered their troubled hearts in two ways:
He gave them hope for the future: He told them that they couldn’t go with Him now BUT that they could go with Him later. In fact, that He was going on ahead of them to get things ready for them. Why was this comforting to them? The Jews didn’t have a real clear understanding of what the after life was going to be like. All the disciples really needed to hear though was that they were going to be with Jesus. As long as they were with Jesus then they knew it was a hope worth holding on to no matter how troubling things got until they saw Him again.
He gave them hope for the present: He wanted them to know that… “When life is troubling and you feel like you have lost your way, remember that I AM THE WAY. When you are faced with deceit and despair and discouragement, and when people tell nothing but lies about you and against you, remember that I AM THE TRUTH. When you are facing death because of your indomitable allegiance to Me and to the Kingdom, remember that I AM THE LIFE. He wanted them to know that they could handle whatever came their way as long as they knew Him. And He wanted to assure them that they were not wasting their lives like so many others who were desperately trying to win the favor of God in frivolous and futile ways. He is the way – there is no other!
I have often said that it is tough enough dealing with life’s troubles when you know the Lord. I cannot imagine trying to deal with them not knowing the Lord and having His presence to calm life’s troubled waters.
Here is something for you to ponder: Jesus has been talking about going to the Father’s house. He tells the disciples that “you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas asks Him where exactly is it that you are going. Notice that Jesus does NOT say “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.” Instead He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Ponder the difference.
Why is this brick foundational? Throughout the ages people have tried to figure out how to get to God, how to secure for themselves an RSVP to heaven. This verse makes it very clear. There is only one way. His name is Jesus.