On Faith: Big answers to big questions
Milo and Opus, two friends, are relaxing on "introspection Hill" in an old episode from the comic strip "Bloom County." Milo turns to Opus (and he can see Milo's wheels turning) who says: "No, please, not another deep question! I'm trying to rest!" But Milo blurts it out anyway: "Do you suppose Adam and Eve had belly buttons?"
Opus is stunned, then angry. He responds: "Well thanks a lot! You can just rock me to sleep tonight!"
Milo responds: "Yep, it's a stumper."
We all have big questions in life, much more important than Milo's. Jesus' disciples were no different. He had told them he was about to leave them, and they didn't understand. So once again, he patiently tries to explain things to them in John 14:1-6 and help them to process the coming big changes.
He comforts them by saying that even though they couldn't join him immediately, eventually they would follow him into an eternal home with the heavenly Father. One of the disciples, Thomas, who is known for his doubts, questions this by saying: "Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know how to get there?"
Jesus responds in verse 6 with an amazing statement about who he is, and in so doing, answers three big questions people ask.
Jesus begins by saying he is the way. The way to what? To heaven, but also to the Father himself. He is the only way into a right relationship with God. By Jesus' death on the cross, he opened for humanity the only way of getting into a right relationship with the heavenly Father.
He died to pay the price of our sins (I John 4:10), and what remains is for us to accept that amazing gift. So the first big question that Jesus answers in this verse is: "How can I find God?"
Secondly, Jesus says he is the truth. He shows us what unchanging truth really is by showing us perfectly what God is like. Our society changes its morality all the time. We think we can decide by popular opinion what is moral, what is acceptable.
But God's character doesn't change like societal "truths" do. He is who he is and who he always has been (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). The very idea of truth proceeds from an unchanging God. So the second big question Jesus answers here is: "Is there a constant basis for morality in the universe?"
Thirdly, Jesus says he is the life. To what is he referring here? He is the source of life as the creator. In John 1:1-3, Jesus is called the "Word" (God's way of communication with us), and the Word is seen in verse 3 as the creator of all things created.
More than that, he is also the means of eternal life, as he tells the disciples here.
Finally, he is the only way to find ultimate fulfillment in this life. In John 10:10, Jesus says: "I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full."
So the final big question Jesus answers in this verse is: "Where do I find so Jesus pictures himself as the way to God, the truth of God, and the life in God. As such, I believe he is the ultimate foundation for a satisfactory philosophy of life.
In him, we find meaning to our lives, unchanging truth and an eternal relationship with our heavenly Father. What more could we ask?
"On Faith" is a weekly column in the News-Chronicle written by area religious leaders. Scott Nelson has been the pastor at First Baptist since 1993.