Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
Traffic in and around Dallas, especially during rush hour, is an adventure to say the least. I never know from one day to the next how long my daily commute will take. Mondays seem to be the worst. Perhaps due to overindulgence over the weekend, the attentiveness of some drivers is sorely lacking. Combine that with technical distractions (aka “smart” phones), and it is no surprise the number of incidents that emerge along the way to impede and prolong one’s travel.
Except for the fact that my concentration focuses on staying alive, I sometimes find the insanity rather amusing and even entertaining. One interesting maneuver I have witnessed on more than one occasion is the last-minute dash from the far left lane across a crowded, bumper-to-bumper, fast-moving (in Dallas rush hour that means anything over 20 mph) highway, picking his way across the four-lane maze of cars to take his exit that is less than a quarter mile away. Did he not realize – a long time ago – that his exit was coming up? That is just poor planning, or else he is paying more attention to his smart phone rather than to his geographic location. Perhaps the driver is new to the area, and this is the first time he has driven this route, and the exit just caught him by surprise. I’ve been there.
This kind of frantic maneuvering generally results from not knowing the way. Unfortunately, in Monday morning rush hour, this lack of awareness culminates in the incidents that impede the progress of drivers who do know the way. I usually do not experience those kinds of problems on my commute because I know the way. I know the location of all my exits, and I logistically maneuver my vehicle into the proper lane to make my exit long before the exit comes up. I relax and enjoy the ride without stress (while staying alert for the crazies).
Life can sometimes be like rush-hour traffic full of roadblocks, near misses, and incidents. Not knowing your destination can further complicate the journey. Too many distractions often leave one unprepared for the sudden diversions one will encounter along the way. When this happens we can become desperate, and franticly struggle to get back on course or find an alternate route. Too many times our solutions lead to incidents that halt our progress and impede the progress of others.
Jesus knew the way. He knew the road blocks along the way, and He knew how to get around them. He knew the exit He must take. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). He knew the cross awaited Him, and He allowed nothing to deter Him. When well-meaning “Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matthew 16:22), Jesus sternly and resolutely responded, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). Nothing was going to deter Jesus from His destination.
In the final hours before the cross, His disciples were still distracted with illusions of greatness with Jesus as king. “They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory” (Mark 10:37). – Evidently they had been watching their smart phones instead of watching the road! – So when Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2), it is not surprising that “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Nor was their reaction surprising when they encountered the roadblock, i.e. Jesus’ arrest, “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50), but Jesus knew the way He must travel.
It’s a good thing that Jesus knew the way, and that He stayed the course. By staying true to His course, He made the way for us to follow. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, emphasis mine).
All life is eternal life. That is how God intended it in the beginning: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17, emphasis mine). But because of Adam’s disobedience, the end result is eternal separation from God – death. Eternal life has two destinations. One destination has many roads, many distractions, many diversions, i.e. many ways. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “destruction” is apōleia, and it does NOT mean annihilation; rather it means ruin or loss (physical, spiritual, or eternal). This is the meaning of “death,” and Jesus said that many go down that “broad way.”
The other destination is “narrow” or “strait.” “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14, emphasis mine). That destination is not easily found, but Jesus said, “I am the way … and the life.” Since He made the way, He knows best route to take. One finds the way in Christ alone; “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” He said. There is no other way; “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, emphasis mine).
The road to eternal life with God is “strait and narrow,” but it is not impossible to find or even difficult. Knowing the Way is essential. Jesus said, “I AM the Way.”
By the way, knowing the Way does not ensure an incident-free journey, but when Jesus takes the wheel, He knows how to steer you around – even through – the trouble spots. Give Him the wheel and let Him drive! He knows the way. You can know the way too!