By Bryan Hill
Imagine with me for a moment years of traditional family gatherings at Thanksgiving. For as long as you can remember, Uncle Jimmy has always brought the turkey—it is so embedded in the family that no one else thinks or even dares to bring up the fact that others are capable of cooking a turkey. Until one year, Uncle Jimmy shows up with a pack of ribeye steaks instead of the traditional turkey. Now, some may argue that a ribeye is way better than a slice of turkey, but it completely goes against the traditional Thanksgiving meal! The family is now at a crossroads of going against years and years of both cultural and family traditions or stepping into the unknown.
This is just an example of the mindset that tradition can have on us. It can be so ingrained in us that anything outside of what we know to be true is an impossibility or complete absurdity. And this is exactly where we find the mindset of the Jewish leaders as Jesus describes Himself as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
In today’s reading, Jesus describes Himself as the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is God incarnate, meaning He is the exact imprint of the Father, God in the flesh, co-equal and co-existing. If Jesus is the exact imprint of the Father and we as believers are made in the image of God, we are made in the image of Jesus as well. When I read this passage, I reflect not only how Jesus is the only way to enter into an eternal relationship with God, but also how Jesus is the very embodiment of the truth and life found in the presence of God.
This climatic moment that we read in John is not only defining truth to those who are new to the faith, it is redefining what centuries of Jewish people believed to be true. To the Jewish people, truth was found in the law and keeping it according to traditions passed down from Moses and so forth. Something so much better than tradition, something meant to fulfill the very tradition they were trying to protect, was right before their very eyes.
Could anything be better?
God wants to use you and me as a part of His redemption plan. It is both humbling and empowering that God chooses to use you and me, made in His image, as doorholders for others to walk through as they enter a relationship with Jesus Christ––the way, truth, and life.