May 7, 2023: How Can We Know the Way?

Fifth Sunday of Easter

“How can we know the way?”

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus prepares his disciples for his crucifixion. He is about to leave them, going ahead to “prepare a place” for them in his Father’s house. He says they needn’t worry because they already know the way. But Thomas objects. “How can we know the way?”

How do you find your way to a place you’ve never been? Typing “My Father’s House” in our GPS or MapQuest brings up interesting results, but no clear directions. Jesus hasn’t given the disciples a road map—no step-by-step directions to the Father’s house. So how can Jesus say that they “know the way”?

Thomas is expecting a travel itinerary, but Jesus has something else in mind. Something better. “I will come again and will take you to myself. . . . I am the way.”

As we travel life’s journey, Jesus offers us this same navigation approach. He doesn’t hand us a map of our journey ahead; he gives no list of upcoming roads and intersections and detours. Jesus’ approach is much more personal: he offers to ride with us through life’s journey. We don’t need a map or a GPS when we’re traveling with a friend, a friend who already knows the way.

Like any long road trip shared with a friend, journeying with Jesus can be a bonding experience. As we get to know Jesus better, we realize that we are getting to know the Father too. In this way, we experience the deeper truth Jesus reveals: knowing him is knowing the Father. Jesus hasn’t just shown us the way; Jesus is the way.

How can we know the way? Jesus himself has told us. To know him is to know the way.

He is the way.

David Geyer, pastor of the ministry partnership of the Fry’s Valley, Gnadenhutten, and Uhrichsville Moravian congregations in Ohio