John 13 is full of bombshells.
After having traveled with Him for three years, the disciples likely thought they had a handle on this thing. Though they never quite knew what to expect from Jesus, they knew enough to expect the unexpected. Three years, after all, is a long time to breathe the same air as a person. But then came the trip to Jerusalem.
There was the foot washing and the objection and misunderstanding of Peter. Then it was the uncomfortable truth that there was a traitor in their midst. And then, to top it all off, was the prediction that Peter, of all people, would actually deny any association with Jesus not once, not twice, but three times that very night. The result of all, no doubt was troubled hearts. Hearts of anxiety. Hearts of confusion. Hearts of pain. And it was to those hearts Jesus spoke:
“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4).
Though these words were meant for comfort, they only seemed to inspire more questions. And Thomas was the one who verbalized them for the room: “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5).
Translation? “No, we don’t! Jesus, I know you say we know the way where you are going, but we don’t. I may be the only one here, but if no one else will say it, I will. I don’t even know the destination, so how can I possibly know the way?”
It must have felt a bit like driving on a country road, lost and out of the reach of Google maps, when you come upon a farm house with an older gentleman sitting on the porch. You ask him if he knows where so-and-so lives, and he responds that of course he does. And then he tells you that you actually know the way as well. The only conclusion would be that either the person giving directions has no grasp on the reality of the situation, or that he has you confused with someone else, because you clearly do. Not. Know. The. Way.
So Thomas asks, and Jesus answers the question. Sort of.
He does not give directions; He does not give a map; He does not even say, “Well, do you know where Farmer Smith used to live before his house burned down?” Nothing like that. With this question, as He is apt to do with many of our questions, Jesus points us to Himself:
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
He doesn’t just know the way, He is the way. The answer to Thomas’s logical and honest inquiry was standing in front of Him.
There are still questions. Questions about life. Questions about trials. Questions about direction. Questions about the future. And with each and every one, Jesus can say, “You know the answer, for I am He.” Christians have the amazing privilege of knowing He who knows the answers for He Himself embodies them. This points us to the great truth that the better way is not necessarily knowing all the answers to all the questions we have, but doing what we can to abide in the One who Himself is the answer.