Parson to Person: You have to choose
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me” (John 14:6).
For over three years, the men Jesus chose as His disciples had been following and learning from His teachings and example. They had placed their hope in Him as the Messiah, the promised deliverer, yet they still didn’t understand how He was going to accomplish that deliverance. As the time for His betrayal and death drew near, Jesus began to prepare His disciples for the days ahead.
As He began to speak more plainly about His death and ascension into heaven, describing the place He was going to prepare for them; Thomas, speaking for the group, said, “We don’t know where you are going, so how could we know how to follow you there?” It was to this question that Jesus uttered perhaps this most famous of His “I Am” statements. In these words, Jesus declared Himself the great “I Am,” the only path to righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life. He did this so the disciples would be able to face the dark days ahead and carry on the mission of declaring the gospel to the world.
We know from scripture that they still didn’t understand, and it took several visits from the risen Lord to shake them out of their disbelief. Once they understood the truth of His words, they became changed people, and the world has never been the same.
So how do we follow Him today? The same way the disciples did long ago. They heard the words of Jesus and believed them, they obeyed them, they followed His example and command to tell others about sin, righteousness and judgment and they made a choice.
He leaves us (as He left His disciples), two options. Accept Him, or reject Him. Pick the road to Heaven, or the road to destruction. We’d like a third option, but it doesn’t really exist. We have to pick a direction. It’s either north or south. (“nouth” or “sorth” – going both directions isn’t an option.)
God has blessed humankind with gift of agency: the ability to choose whom or what we will serve within the circumstances of our lives. We are called to make responsible choices that contribute to the purposes of God. It’s north or south, we have to pick one; it’s the same with Jesus, may we choose wisely.