Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I AM the Way
I used John 14:1-11 this morning for "praying Scripture." I found the long note in "The New Interpreter's Study Bible" very helpful. It says, "John 14:6 expresses the central theological conviction of the Gospel of John:Jesus is the tangible presence of God in the world." I found that theme especially prominent in the whole passage. John begins his Gospel by telling us that God became flesh and made his home among us.
Here Jesus says, "Believe in God, believe also in me....If you know me, you will know my Father also....Whoever has seen me has seen the Father....Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?" Jesus makes God available to our senses in a unique way.
The long note points out that many contemporary Christians wrongly interpret "No one comes to the Father except through me (14:6)" to mean that only those who believe in Jesus can go to God. Jesus is expressing his conviction that his disciples experience God now through him. He is not making a statement about the relative value of the world's religions.
Jesus is stressing that right here, right now, he is the tangible presence of God. "I AM the way," he claims. In John 10:9 Jesus says, "I AM the gate." I have found it helpful lately to think of Jesus as the portal between the visible world and the invisible world, both of them intertwined with each other. I see Jesus, then, as making God available to any human being, whether or not they know Jesus.
I like the practice of capitalizing most of the times Jesus says "I AM." It translates the Greek "Ego Eimi," which in turn is used to translate the proper name for God in Hebrew.