Waynedale United Methodist Church
Monday, March 30, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

Mar 20, 2016 Sermon

“I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life”
John 14:1 – 7
Ted Jansen  March 20, 2016  Waynedale UMC
1.)        Have you ever had the experience of needing someone to give you directions?  I was in the car with Tom and Nancy Reuille and we were finding a few of the homes that the team would be working on while we are Henderson Kentucky.  I had no idea where we were or where we were going.  Tom had a map and a general idea.  We eventually found the homes but I was lost. 
            There was a young family that came to worship in Auburn and wanted to know where the Nursery was so that they take their child there.  I did my best to tell them the directions and had an “aha” moment that we needed to get the nursery up on the main level.  The nursery was in the basement after going downstairs and having two or three options to turn at several hallways.  It was confusing to tell that couple.    
            Sue and I have to find the Parker Commons parking lot on Monday as we head up to see our daughter make a presentation.   I have a map but I have not been there.   We will see what happens.  It is downtown in Ann Arbor.     
2.)        All of these situations would be better if someone would say, “Follow me.”  If someone would have known the destination and the path and how to take you there that would be best. 
            When our tour group was in Israel we did a lot of listening and watching and learning.  The guide would take us to many different sites.  I remember when we were in the Old City of Jerusalem and there were all sorts of shops, streets, doors, paths, etc.  When our guide said, “follow me,” we stayed close to him because we could have gotten lost.  We listened and followed.    
3.)        As we read the scripture we discover the God gave Abraham a promise that he would be the father of many nations.  God led Abraham.  Israel was the nation that came from Abraham’s family.  The Ten Commandments and all the Laws were given to lead the people.  The laws and commandments were pointing to the path the people were to take in order to be in a relationship with God.  The people followed the law and commandments at times and they disobeyed them at times.    
            God then sent prophets to the Israelites to show the people where the path was.  The people would veer off the path so many times.  The prophets would teach them about God’s ways.    
            The nation of Israel was promised a Messiah, the one who would show the path to God.  The Messiah would be God, not another law or prophet.   
4.)        Jesus Christ, the Messiah, called some men along the shore of Lake Galilee to “follow me.”  Those first disciples followed Jesus and the path He was on for 3 years and experienced all sorts of things.  Jesus continued His call to the disciples for those years to “Follow me.”  
            When Jesus’ earthly journey was about finished He wanted to give them an image of His life and their life as it related to following Him.  
5.)        In that Upper Room Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and Life.”      The word for the “way” in Greek is hodos.  It has many expressions in its meaning but the main one is a path or a way that you would travel.  Jesus wants them to know that He is the path, road, the way to God. 
            As I thought of Jesus and Holy Week I thought of His call to follow.  Jesus is going to travel a hard path, a narrow path, a path that would bring life and reveal truth.  
6.)        We see Jesus on the first day of the week, the day we call Palm Sunday, traveling on a donkey while people are shouting, “Hosanna, Blessed is the name of the Lord!”  Jesus is traveling down the Mt of Olives to Jerusalem.  This is a descent, downward from the top.  This downward journey is a symbol of His life in heaven with God, coming down, and traveling on a donkey, a servant animal.  Jesus is laying His life down as he travels on this path.   We are to follow Jesus on the Palm Sunday path.     
            We see Jesus on Thursday in the Upper Room and Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus calls us to follow as He washes feet, as He prepares to give His Body and Blood for the world, as He prays in the garden for three hours.  We are to follow on the Thursday path.     
            We see Jesus on Friday as He is beaten, crucified and for hours hangs on the cross.  He calls us to follow Him as we die to ourselves.  We are to follow on the Friday path.    
            We see Jesus on Saturday in the tomb.  Dead, gone, without hope.  We are to follow Him in that place.  We are to follow on the Saturday path. 
            We are to see Jesus on the first day of the week when God’s power raised Jesus from the dead.  Follow me on this path.  The path of new life and resurrection is my path.  We are to follow on the Sunday, the day of Resurrection path.   
7.)        As we follow Jesus on the path here is some information about the roads that Jesus and the disciples would have known.
The Roman roads in the time of Jesus were impressive and massive.  There were a lot of them.  The Roman Empire extended from Rome, the capital, to all over the empire that they had conquered. 
One of the ways that they could control the people was to have a method of sending out soldier to keep order.  The roads also showcased great civil engineering.  The road had a system of drainage and the best roads were paved with rocks laid at an angle and had layers of stone underneath so that they would hold up over time. 
            The Roman Empire had 372 great roads constructed and over 50,000 miles of roads were paved with stones.  The roads were built in straight paths, so that they were efficient in the building and this was quicker to get to.  
            The roads helped commerce, safety, and security.  The Romans wanted to be able to get a on a road quickly and to take care of any needs in the empire.  
            Jesus and the disciples would have known the road, Via Maris, that went through Capernaum.  It was a trade route to the sea that was a vital road.    
8.)        Jesus, as He was speaking to the disciples, said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  He was not saying that He was an alternative to the great roads that the Romans had built, He was not an improvement, He was not a substitute.  Jesus said, I am the road.  I am the path. 
            He was saying as they had an image of the great road, “don’t be impressed with the Roman road.  They are great but in time they won’t appear that grand or great.  I am the path, the road to focus on for all times. 
9.)        In Israel we walked by a creek on a path that led from Nazareth to Capernaum.  It was a path that Jesus would have traveled at some point.  As I looked around at the hills I thought to myself Jesus would have looked at these hills.   
            This path took Him from his childhood, his teenage and young adult years to His ministry.  It was a physical path but it symbolized a spiritual path. 
Here are few rocks that I brought with me to remind me of this path, this walk in Jesus’ life.  Where have you physically walked and what did this represent in your spiritual life?  As we think of the path that Jesus took what is the path that God has set for you to travel? 
10.)      When we were in the Old City of Jerusalem going to the different stops another tour group was walking through.  They were of Asian descent and as they were walking together they were singing.  We did not understand the words but then we heard the tune and realized they were singing, “The Old Rugged Cross.” 
As they were passing by our group, walking their journey, walking the way that Jesus would have taken, our group began singing.  They were singing and we were singing and had come from different directions yet we were connected. 
This meeting of American and Asian Christians on a road, a path, that Jesus would have taken the day of his death was amazing.  “On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross, an emblem of suffering and shame.” 
            We were united for a few moments on our path.  We were not alone. We did not know anything about each other, other than we shared a tune in the city that Jesus walked. 
11.)      When we follow Jesus we are not alone, we are given companions to travel with.           We sing the songs, we share the faith, we gather our lives, we walk together.  Here is a story about faith a path and one another. 
            “Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path."           (Today in the Word, June 29, 1992)
Closing Prayer