The Way, the Truth, the Life

I once asked a group of thirteen year olds to fill in an R.E. questionnaire. One of the questions asked what it was they were most afraid of.

So many of them replied...The Future.

The future can fill us with fear and foreboding, unless of course we know someone who knows the way to where we are going; who will see to it that we do get there, and who will make sure we live life to the full as we journey on.

The Way, The Truth, The Life

(Young confirmation candidates will be in the congregation, so begin with a game!)

THE WAY

If we were to play a game of Simon Says this morning, at this point in the service, (!) there’d be some who would choose not to join in. There would be some who would put themselves out of the game, by not doing what ‘Simon says’ at the right moment. There’d be those who’d be out because they hadn’t heard, and there’d be those out because they hadn’t concentrated.

Some of us are caught out in life just like that, and for these reasons.

We want to do things our way, not God’s way!

Jesus said, ’I am the Way!’ He reminded us that God laid down the rules, ‘Do this, ‘Do that!’

But we want to ‘Do things our own way.

We know we do things we ought not to do, and we don’t do things we ought to do, and there is no health in us.

In our gospel today Jesus tells his disciples that he is the Way to the Father, all that Jesus ever did and said was beautiful, and he wants our lives to be lived beautifully too.

When we know we have lost our way in life, we must get back on to his path without delay.

And what about the line, No-one comes to the Father, except through me?

People today say ‘Ah yes, but don’t all paths lead to God?’

Well no, the one that leads to destruction, and hatred and violence does not!

But then they will go on to say…that’s not what I meant. I mean don’t all other faiths lead to God?

…There are many faithful, zealous and godly people who are wholly sincere about their faith, and who treat others with the greatest respect, just as Jesus told us to do. It’s not our job to be their judge. That’s God’s role.

But what we do know is that when the disciples of Jesus were asked if they wanted to go their own way and leave him, they said to him,

‘Lord where else would we go, you have the words of eternal life?’

No other great religious leader has ever made claims like the ones Jesus made, nor have any died and risen from the dead to prove their claims. We know that as Christians we are convinced that by journeying with Jesus, we will ultimately be with our heavenly Father, and it is in Jesus we put our trust.

He is the living stone, the chief Cornerstone, it says in our New Testament reading, and we too must allow ourselves to be built together as living stones…into a spiritual house to offer worship and to offer sacrifices pleasing to God.

‘We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, in other words we each have been given our calling.

We are a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that we may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Once we were not a people,

But now we are God’s people!’

And we are on the way, but we haven’t yet reached our final destination, so there is no room to be complacent. So we keep on, keeping on till we get there, with a real and true faith in word and deed, and nothing false about us.

THE TRUTH

Jesus said I am the Truth.

I am not aware that Jesus ever told a lie…he was up front and honest with everyone, even when it meant trouble for him with the mighty powers of his day.

He is our inspiration, but not only that…in the very fact that he spoke truth and was the Truth, it means we are given cause to HOPE and REJOICE as Christians even today...FOR it follows that the deep truths he spoke, must also be true, for there was nothing false in him.

Listen carefully to his words from our gospel today:-

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Believe in God, and believe also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.’

Words like this leave me spellbound, what about you?

No wonder this reading gives so much comfort to mourners at funerals.

What greater Saviour is there known to humankind, than ours?

Who else has spoken such things to others?

Who else has spoken with such great authority?

Even before Pontius Pilate, the man who had the power to destroy him, Jesus spoke in such a way, that even this great leader was moved to ask him, ‘What IS TRUTH?’(John 18. 38)

You almost feel that at this point in the story, even Pilate was searching for answers, and would have loved to have spent some secret time in discussion with him, like Nicodemus did.

How much time do we spend listening to the TRUTH?

THE LIFE

Life is just so precious. Often you hear the saying that you’re a very long time dead. Look around you, at all the colour, the friendship, look at health, life, song, new birth, nature, trees in bud. Life is good…but sometimes we’re never quite happy. Unless we’re moaning or critical or upset about something.

I’m not preaching AT you when I say this, for I’m sometimes guilty myself. Ask Derek Muir, and Lotte! I’m just as prone to having as good a moan as everyone else, when I’m not happy about something!

But wouldn’t it be a sad world if all we did was to look at life with critical eyes?

Jesus said, I am the Life…he also said, I have come to bring you life, that you might have it abundantly.

Are we living life abundantly? Are we living the Resurrection life, and trying to see triumph and victory in every situation?

I read this passage recently*

If you had a bank that credited your account every morning with £86,000, that carried over no balance from day to day, allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you failed to use during the day, what would you do?

Draw out every pound every day, of course, and use it to your advantage!

Well you have such a bank, and its name is TIME!

Every morning it credits you with 86,000 SECONDS.

Every night it rules off as lost whatever of this you failed to invest to good purpose.

It carries no balances, it allows no overdrafts.

Each day it opens up a new account with you.

If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back.

There is no drawing against tomorrow

But is what I’m saying all about (sing)

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? No not only that!

No, scripture says that Jesus IS the Life. It is through him that our life becomes rich and meaningful.

If we are fully given to him, he himself lives in us, and though his presence we in turn can help to enrich the lives of others.

Let us not waste His very presence, and learn to be more aware of whatever it is that steals our time, and wastes our lives.

We alone know what kind of things steal those precious moments. If it is something like complaining and moaning, over indulgence, or being a couch potato, then we must be determined to give it up, or get rid of it.

Let us seek new ways to become more Christ-like, make Jesus known as our friend.

I read recently a meditation based upon these words.

Life without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is like watching the television without an aerial plugged in.

Without a knowledge of God and his purposes revealed in the Bible, and in Christ, we have at best a blurred picture of the holy, invisible Creator. But when we encounter Jesus, who is the way to the Father, the truth about the Father, and the life we can live in the Father, it is then that the fuzziness vanishes.

One of my favorite songs says this,

If I had my life to live again

I would choose to be with you my friend

Moments

These are the moments that we love so well

Precious moments caught within a spell

All too soon our lives they fade away

These are the moments that we wish would stay

If I had my life to live again

I would choose to be with you my friend

Time moves slowly and it goes so fast

And who knows how long these days will last

So cherish deep within you, the love you get today

Let the moment linger

Cause tomorrow steals that away

Yes tomorrow steals that away

These are the memories that we made so well

Lives like stories that we long to tell

When we're old with not too much to say

We'll have the memories that we made today

We'll have the memories that we made today

*May I recommend to you a book called A Barrel of Fun by J.John & Mark Stibbe for very interesting and funny anecdotes.