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I Am The Way, And The Truth, And The Life…

March 25, 2015

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At today’s Lenten Luncheon I shared a few thoughts with the gathered church members and guests about John 14:7-8. I have been doing a series of short meditations on the “I Am” statements of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.'”

I wish I had a picture of the statue of Jesus that stands out in front of St Augustine’s Catholic Church in my hometown of Austin, Minnesota. I used to walk by the church on my way to school (grades 7-12) and on my way home. I would often stop and just simply “be” in the presence… and reflect on those words. I supposed that experience helped sink those words deep into my soul. Like the Standing Cross pictured above (picture taken on our honeymoon in Ireland), the statue of Jesus and those words stand as a reminder to anyone who will take a moment to be still and know. As we walked across the field towards the Cross, my eyes and heart were focused on the wonder of it and on the wonder of that mystical moment as we drew close to a thin place where so many had prayed throughout the centuries. The Cross in Ireland and the statue in Austin both remind me, if I take the time to think about it, what Jesus calls me to be and to do.

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Last night, Denise and I were privileged to see and hear a musician I have followed for decades. John Michael Talbot is a mixture of monk, musician, mystic, and comedian (the guy can really make you laugh!). In a combination of speaking and singing over the course of the 90 minutes he was presenting, the focus was on prayer and living a life of faith. In the simplicity of breath prayer… the simplicity of the Jesus Prayer… he told us how we can find our focus and lift our hearts to God. He also spent a good deal of time talking about Evangelism. And that is where he ties into the story today about the words of Jesus, the statue, and the Cross.

Evangelism (euaggelion or εὐαγγέλιον in the Greek) literally means  good tidings or bringing the Good News! And the Good News of the Gospel is found in part, in the passage above from John’s Gospel. Jesus is THE way… Jesus is THE truth… Jesus is THE life… Jesus came to set those captive by their sin free!

Sadly, the term evangelism and evangelical have a lot of baggage which they carry thanks to Christians throughout the ages and especially today. My question is this: If we are supposed to share the Good News of Jesus with others, then why do we insist on beating it into them? I have watched countless street preachers in the US and overseas “strut their stuff” and “yell while holding their floppy Bibles at people”… And I have watched more people walk away from these same preachers shaking their heads and muttering. Did that preacher share the Good News? Did the individuals actually try to listen and hear the Good News if you can find it at all in the midst of the hollering?

I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! I believe it with all my heart. And yet I am challenged quite often to examine what sort of a job I am doing sharing that Good News! Love almost always seems to draw more folks in to listen than hate or fear do.

So what do you present each day? I know that it isn’t always easy to be a “poster child” for the Good News. Some days I am depressed, frustrated, angry, or simply blah. I know on those days that my witness may not be the best it can be. However, by breathing out the bad as John Michael taught, and breathing in the Goodness of God, we can be filled. And as we are filled, our countenance changes. And as we are transformed, we become bearers of the Good News.

Jesus IS THE WAY, and THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE! So it is up to those of us who are Christ-followers to show the way. In 1 John 4:7-8, we read the following: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” So how do we share the Good News? How do we Evangelize? One word: LOVE. That is the best way for us to share the Good News!

My prayer is that more Christ-followers would love as Christ loves… because then the Good News really will be GOOD and lives will be transformed! And the first life to be transformed will be that Christ-follower.

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