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Confessing Christian faith can be challenging in the diverse pluralistic world – and city – which we call home. Can we claim to know truth, or salvation, which might exclude others?; or claim a superior knowledge and calling? What some might call arrogance others might call certitude or conviction.
This is one of the big questions we face as followers of Jesus and in the 21st century.
If you look at the context of this text it’s not in a conversation about other religions, or about the pluralism that existed in the Roman Empire. Jesus is talking to his friends, responding to a specific question, offering comfort, hope and encouragement.
Jesus refers to two common ways of thinking about faith and life in the ancient Jewish world-view. Heaven or the kingdom was envisioned as a mansion or large house. The ancients would pray and associate the name of the patriarchs, Abraham, or other great people of faith to their prayers, it was their way of invoking those models of great faith, asking that their own faith might reflect such faithfulness.
Jesus reframes those things: the mansion isn’t one in which some rooms where better than others, but where there were plenty to go around. The name of Jesus is the one to pray in as he represents faithfulness and a unique experiential knowledge of God the Creator.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The second and third seem to flow from the first. A way is a path, avenue, road. In moving forward in that direction truth is discovered and life is lived radically different – or in a true way. What is Jesus saying? What isn’t he saying?
QUESTIONS FOR GOING DEEPER: