Saturday 01 May 2021

Bible Book:

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' (v. 6)

John 14:1-14 Saturday 1 May 2021

Psalm 19


Today we are back to John’s Gospel, another “I am” saying and, as with Tuesday's Bible passage, a popular (the most popular?) reading for funerals (verses 1-6 plus 27). The idea of Jesus going ahead to prepare a place for us ('a mansion' in the King James version) is clearly a comfort and it fits with another favourite for funerals, Psalm 23, where a banquet is prepared to welcome people after death.

Here we see Thomas (verse 5), concerned that after being with Jesus all this time he still doesn’t understand or know the way, a foreshadowing of his doubts after the Resurrection. He is reassured by Jesus.

Verse 6 sets up the centrality of Jesus in terms of access to the Father. Yet soon after this comes the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He returns to heaven and the Trinity is fully one again. From then, in our understanding, the Father, Son and Spirit are again one. This is perhaps what Jesus is trying to explain to Philip. You can’t see Jesus without also seeing the Father and the Spirit. Therefore all who come to God are coming to Jesus. We can’t subdivide the Trinity and imagine that Jesus is hanging off the edge bringing people to the rest of God. When we see Jesus, we see the Father and the Spirit (and vice versa).

My concern is that, at times, as Christians we focus so much on Jesus as the only way to the Father that we disconnect Jesus from God, from the Trinity, from being fully divine. Then we risk repeating the concerns from Thursday and Friday and putting ourselves above the sovereignty of God. We can spend too much time looking for wrath rather than mercy, rejection rather than inclusion. Maybe Jesus is saying to Philip 'let God be God' and stop trying to make decisions beyond your pay grade. Perhaps we should get back to living in the light of our experience of God. Jesus redirects Philip from his preoccupation with trying to understand all the mysteries of God into doing the works that Jesus has been doing, presumably announcing the Kingdom of God, healing, forgiving, transforming, bringing life, etc. I don’t think Jesus is discouraging them from reflecting and thinking about the nature of God and of God’s kingdom to come but he is saying that it shouldn’t dominate and take them away from living the example of Jesus.


To Ponder:

  • The 19th century American physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr said “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” Is this what Jesus is warning Thomas and Philip about? How does that feel for us?
  • Do you find the idea of letting 'God be God' helpful or not? Why?
  • How do you feel about the imagery of heaven as a house, a dwelling place, a mansion?


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