Finding Your Way Through the Haze


File this under ‘you learn something new every day’. Discovered a strange genetic anomaly called DTD. Developmental topographical disorientation occurs in people with no brain injury, lesions, or tumors and it causes them to be unable to form any sort of mental map. Mary recounts when she was 13 years old she was a few blocks from where she was dog-sitting a friends’ pet. She said, “I had no idea where I was, and my surroundings looked completely unfamiliar. It was as though I’d been dropped into the middle of a foreign land (McLaurine).”

We’ve all heard stories about GPS messing up a trip. Sometimes they are funny but some end in tragedy and death. Do you recall back in 2007 the family “stuck in the snow for nine days with few supplies (Neelmann)” down in Southern Oregon. The father, James Kim tried to walk out and was found dead trying to get help. Finding one’s way is a serious endeavor.

Unlike the other three gospels, John doesn’t share a lot of parables or pithy sayings. “In John the style of Jesus’ teaching is that of long discourses (Ladd 251).” Chapter 14 is part of Jesus’ last night with his disciples. Matthew and the others don’t share Jesus’ teaching during this time. But John has taken the time to do it for us.

Who is in Charge?

At the deepest point of one’s life, the key to believing or not believing is the issue of who is in charge. Jesus claims he is the way, the truth, and the life, but the emphasis lands on the first of those three. He is the way because He and the Father are one. He is the way because eternal life resides in Him and Him alone. Throughout John, Jesus is “God’s gracious self-disclosure (Carson 491)” the expression of Life not just existence—zoh, the root for zoology vs. bio.s from which we get biology. Life that goes beyond existence to a life worth living.

We have the Lord of Heaven and Earth stepping down among us as one of us, to die for us, so we can live with Him. Jesus, who is the Way, harkens back to Jesus’ statement in v.4 “And you know the way to where I am going”. To which Thomas says, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

When Jesus says, “I am the way…” he isn’t cutting a pathway through the jungle of life and hollering at us to follow and keep up. He’s not some model of virtue by which we judge our competence in attaining perfection and love.

“He is himself the savior, the lamb of God, the one who so speaks that those who are in the graves hear his voice and come forth…the one who alone can say ‘no one comes to the Father except through me’ (Carson 491).”

At Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting CEO Jeff Bezos was taking questions from the shareholders when a lady asked for help returning a package. Bezos comment,

“’Yeah, sure we’ll help you with that right after the meeting. Bezos apologized to the woman for having to ask him for help at the meeting. ‘My apologies that you had to use this unusual venue to accomplish what should have been a much simpler task. ‘We’ll also look into the root cause of why that happened’ (Joyce).”

If it is newsworthy that the richest person in the world should stop to return a package, how much more newsworthy is it that

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (MSG).

Who has our best interest at heart?

Jesus’ primary purpose here isn’t to teach theology but to comfort his friends. Consider the night they have had. One of them has left to betray him while another has been told he would deny Jesus three times. There was an argument before the meal over who was the greatest. Jesus washed each of their feet causing confusion. There’s was talk of arrest and death.

We face a similar unsettling, fearful, and even overwhelming world, much like the disciple that night. And Jesus’ words to us are the same, “Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God and believe also in me.” He commands them to "stop allowing their hearts to be in turmoil". Instead, they are to believe and to continue to believe in God and in himself.

That seems to be a good word for us, today? Is your heart troubled by this 125 nm, a microscopic virus has changed our planet? Maybe not. Maybe you’re totally at peace because you are used to staying home, not working, and love spending time by yourself or with loved ones. But for some this has been a very troubling time. They or a loved one are in the ‘high risk’ categories. Financially they have fallen on hard times as hours have been cut or jobs just disappear.

My life has been upended by this. I was cut and then given too many hours at Staples. I’ve learned more about video broadcast, production, and the rest than I ever really needed to know. And I’ve had to put them to use.  Guess what? I haven’t a clue as to what the answer is except, I know Christ is Lord and God is on the throne.

The early church faced persecution for not believing in the various gods and idols. They were seen as week and stupid when they were merciful and caring. Yet Peter reminds us that we have become a people and have received mercy because we have built our lives on the ‘cornerstone’ of Jesus Christ. It has changed our identity. It has secured our future. It secures a future in which our trust in Christ is honored even as others continually take offense at Christ.

So, recklessly go back to the ‘normal’ of January 2020 and face a new round of infections or stay isolated and locked down for months really doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t to one who trusts that Christ is “the way, the truth and the life”.  

The centuries haven’t changed Jesus’ promises. Our life situations haven’t changed Jesus’ promises. Even our response to what is going on doesn’t change Jesus’ promise. Because he is the Alpha and the Omega who was and is and is to come. Uncertain of what life holds? Take heart and be certain that Jesus is the way. Uncertain in the midst of the changing situations all around us? Take heart and be certain that Jesus is the Way and the truth. Uncertain in the midst of the possibility of illness or death? Take heart and be certain that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” Can you be certain in uncertain times? You can if your certainty rests in Christ. Let’s pray.

Works Cited

Joyce, Kathleen. "Amazon Customer Asks Jeff Bezos During Shareholder Meeting for Help Returning Package: Report." Fox Business. 2019. Web. 7 May 2020.

Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993. Print.

McLaurine, Mary. "I Can't Follow A Map Or Directions, And At 61 I Still Get Lost And Frightened," Washington Post 2017. Web. 7 May 2020.

Neelmann, Sol. "The Kim Family's Tragic Journey." oregonlive. 2007. Web. 7 May 2020.

Bibliography

Beasley-Murray, George R. John. Vol. 36. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1999. Print. Word Biblical Commentary.

"Donaldina Cameron House." Flickr. 2014. Web. 6 May 2020.

Fitzpatrick, Elyse M. Because He Loves Me. Wheaton: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books, 2009. Print.

Hengel, Martin. “Raising the Bar: A Daring Proposal for the Future of Evangelical New Testament Scholarship.” Christianity Today 2001 : 77–79. Print.

Kauffman, Richard. "Reflections: Cross and Resurrection." Christianity Today 2003: Print.

Joyce, Kathleen. "Amazon Customer Asks Jeff Bezos During Shareholder Meeting For Help Returning Package: Report." Fox Business. 2019. Web. 7 May 2020.

King, John. "Plain Church Amid the Pagodas." SF Gate 2009. Web. 6 May 2020.

Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993. Print.

Liddell, H.G. A lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English lexicon 1996 Print.

Lust, Johan, Erik Eynikel, and Katrin Hauspie. A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint : Revised Edition 2003 Print.

Lowe, Janet. Oprah Winfrey Speaks. Wiley, 1998. Print. 122

McLaurine, Mary. "I Can't Follow A Map Or Directions, And At 61 I Still Get Lost And Frightened," Washington Post 2017. Web. 7 May 2020.

Neelmann, Sol. "The Kim Family's Tragic Journey." oregonlive. 2007. Web. 7 May 2020.

Newman, Barclay M., Jr. A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. 1993 : 7. Print.

Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Snibbe, Kurt. "Coronavirus: Here’s How Small the Enemy is and How it Attacks – Orange County Register." Ocregister.com. N.p., 2020. Web. 7 May 2020.

Thielicke, Helmut. Christ and the Meaning of Life. Lutterworth Press, 1988. Print.


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