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March 2, 2021
4 And you know the way to 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 had known me, you would have known 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 it is enough for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? 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 authority, 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, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
Jesus tells his disciples: "You know the way to where I am going." This, however, is where the confusion sets in. Thomas interjects: "We do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus’ response is one of the most controversial statements in all of the Gospels. He replies: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
That shockingly exclusive claim by Jesus continues to unnerve us. But let’s give Jesus a little credit for being consistent. If there was some other way to the Father, then that would render Jesus’ death on the cross meaningless and unnecessary. If, on the other hand, sin, evil, and death form an impenetrable barrier between us and God, then Jesus has done for us what we could not have done for ourselves. Jesus died in our place on the cross and rose to new life so that through simple trust in Jesus, he might lead us along the way he has opened to the Father. Jesus’ claim to be the only path to the Father may seem narrow and exclusive, but it is a path that is open and available for all to take. It is an inclusive invitation. Anyone can put their trust in Jesus and receive the truth and life he has to offer.
All this theology, however, is a bit too much for Phillip, who says with more than a little exasperation in his voice: "Show us the Father and that will be enough for us." To which, Jesus seems to say: "Where have you been, Phillip? This is what I have been trying to tell you all along. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. If you know me, you know the Father. I and the Father are one." If you want to know what God is really like, you don’t have to look any farther than Jesus.
Have you accepted Jesus’ inclusive invitation to the Father?