Connect Group guide: The Way, the Truth and the Life
The Way, the Truth and the Life
If you missed hearing this talk in person you can listen again here.
Read John chapter 14:1-7
Jesus and His disciples are celebrating the Passover meal, the time Israel would remember God freeing His people from slavery in Egypt. This is also the last time Jesus would be gathered with His friends before His trial and execution. It is His parting message to them before He goes to the cross.
Throughout the ‘last supper’ we find some of the most famous moments from the gospels: Jesus washing the disciples’ feet as an example of how they should love one another, Jesus predicting the betrayal of Judas and, perhaps most troubling for the disciples, Jesus saying that He was leaving them, that they could not follow and that even Peter would go on to disown Jesus that very night.
There’s a sadness throughout this passage, not just because of the events Jesus knew He would face that night and the following day, but also because His friends haven’t fully comprehended, after all that time, the fullness of who He is: that He is the Son of God, the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15).
This meal gives us one of the most profound insights into Jesus’ heart and character. Despite the sorrow and knowledge of what He is about to go through, it is honest and full of hope and love.
The way Jesus comforts His disciples as they hear this news is not simply through offering empty words of consolation. He comforts them and gives them hope through the reality of who He is.
Thomas asks Jesus ‘what is the way?’, a question all of us may have asked. What is the way? What is the way that will lead us to abundant, eternal life? How should we live? How will the longings of the human heart be met? Jesus’ answer is through an invitation into relationship.
Way (hodos): Road/journey, and way of living
Truth (alētheia): The reality and purpose of existence
Life (zoe): Eternal, abundant life and new way of living, as opposed to biological life
Jesus is ‘the Way’.
Read this quote from Tish Harrison Warren’s Prayer in the Night:
“The hope God offers us is this: he will keep close to us, even in darkness, in doubt, in fear and vulnerability. He does not promise to keep bad things from happening. He does not promise that night will not come, or that it will be terrifying, or that we will immediately be tugged off shore.
He promises that we will not be left alone. He will keep watch with us in the night.
If we suffer deeply, there is no explanation, no reason, no answer that can ease our heartbreak. The only comfort that can do anything is that comfort of feeling yourself loved.
In the end, that’s what I needed to know.”
- Jesus has not only shown us the way to live, but is the way. Does knowing this give you a sense of peace? Do you find this a difficult concept to understand?
- Does the idea of life as a journey, knowing that Jesus is with you, change your perspective?
Jesus is ‘the Truth’.
A common phrase in our cultural language is ‘find your truth’, and many social commentators would argue that we are living in a ‘post-truth’ world, where truth is defined by feeling, rather than fact.
- How does Jesus as ‘the truth’ clash with our culture’s ideas about truth?
- How does Jesus as ‘the truth’ affect the posture of followers of Jesus in our world today?
Jesus is ‘the Life’.
You might want to read this quote from James KA Smith from his book On the Road with St Augustine:
“What if someone not only knows where the end of the road is but promises to accompany you the rest of the way, to never leave you or forsake you until you arrive?
This is the God who runs down the road to meet prodigals. Grace isn’t high-speed transport all the way to the end but the gift of his presence the rest of the way. And it is the remarkable promise of his Son, who meets us in this distance: “My Father’s house has many rooms”. There is room for you in the Father’s house. His home is your end. He is with you every step of the way.”
- How does knowing that Jesus is the life, and that He has a place prepared for us in His Father’s house, bring us hope?
- Has this shaped you as you walk through suffering?
You might want to encourage people in your group who may be grappling with knowing Jesus as ‘the way, the truth and the life’. You might want to pray the prayer of Mark 8; ‘I want to believe: help my unbelief’.