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.’
When French historian Alex de Tocqueville came to America in 1831, he noted that “the religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me on arrival in the United States”. It remains a striking feature of American life to this day. The Gallup Poll reported in 2011 that more than 9 in 10 Americans say that they “personally believe in God”. More than 8 in 10 also say that they “experience in their lives the need for spiritual growth”. Created in the very image of God, we long to fill the God-shaped vacuum within, to make connection with ultimate reality and truth. However hard we might try, we cannot repress or deny that we were made for the infinite.
When we gaze at the starry sky and wonder what God must be like, or we long somehow to make connection with Him, we must always look to Jesus. All the knowledge of God that our hearts and minds crave is made known to us in Jesus. We learn what God is like when we see Jesus washing dirty feet, forgiving sinners, and stretching out His arms on the cross. The Apostle Paul writes about the revelation of God that we have in Jesus: “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine in darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6).
Throughout the Gospel story Jesus reveals the Father to us, bringing us the life and truth of God. Jesus comes from the Father in order to take us to the Father. “If you know me,” Jesus promises, “you will know my Father also”.
Notice that Jesus does not say that He knows the way to his Father. Nor does He say that He will show us the way to his Father. Rather, Jesus says, “I am the way….no one comes to the Father except through me”. Whatever our religion, or lack of religion, we come to the Father through Jesus. It is Jesus who takes us close to the Father’s heart.
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly”.
– Richard of Chichester (1197-1262)
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?