Palm Sunday. The start of Holy Week. The exultation of a King who will be crucified alongside criminals. He knows this lies ahead of Him, too. I don't think I would have that kind of courage to ride into the town where I was going to be killed. I would be turning and going the other direction.
Of course Jesus is the Son of God. Fully man, yet fully God. Of course, His Spirit lives in those who follow Him, too. So we have access to that same sort of courage. I just know I don't access it enough.
All too often I am trying to rely on my own strength to get me through tough situations. The reality is that I am often displaying my weaknesses in those situations. I'm more likely to avoid a confrontation.
Tonight's "I am" statement of Jesus is a familiar one. It's from John 14:6. "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (NIV). It's so familiar to many Christians that we don't often hear it fully anymore. Most likely we hear it used for evangelical purposes, telling people that they need Jesus and that no other way is going to get them to Heaven--not Buddah, not a Hindu god, not performing many good deeds.
However, Jesus was talking to His disciples here. He'd raised Lazarus from the dead, entered Jerusalem on a donkey amidst shouts of "Hosanna," and was sharing His last meal with His followers as He told them that His journey was about to end in death. He comforts His disciples, letting them know that He's preparing things in Heaven for them and will return some day. Though He'll be gone, they already know the way.
And Thomas says that they don't know where He's going, so how can they know the way. This is when Jesus responds letting him know that He is the way, truth, and life. These are words of comfort and compassion.
They're also words of direction.
I don't need to follow my own way. It won't get me anywhere but in trouble. Jesus is the way. His is the only path I should follow.
I don't need to listen to the lies the world tells me (or that I tell myself). Jesus is the truth. When He calls me His beloved, that's all I need to hear.
I don't need to worry about death. Jesus is the life.
John 14:6 isn't words to tell people that they need Jesus to get to Heaven. They're words for me--that I need Jesus here in this life.