This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:1-6 (NKJV)
Years ago, I came across a passage in the book Mere Christianity by CS Lewis:
They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?” – “That’s my seat, I was there first.” – “Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm.” – “Why should you shove in first?” – “Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine” – “Come on, you promised.” People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, children as well as grown-ups.
Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise.
This passage caught my attention because, for the first time, I saw evidence of an internal standard, a code, a boundary, that existed within the human heart across boundaries of culture, race, age, gender, and ethnicity. There are things within the human heart that we know even though when they have not explicitly been taught to us. When I feed my dogs, they do not worry about fairness; they worry about getting their full portion and more if possible. Human beings, unless they are broken, are aware of certain internal standards of right and wrong even before anyone teaches them to us.
Just as there are unwritten boundaries written on the human heart, I have noticed there is also unwritten longings resident there. No one told us we did not belong or that we were unwanted, yet every one of us, regardless of sex, age, race, or culture, wants to be wanted, to belong, to be important in the life of another. No one had to tell us we live in a dangerous world, and so there was cause for insecurity and fear – but we all deal with these trepidations.
These longings are reverberations of the damage done by Adam’s fall from the design of God when he sinned, disobeyed, and was forced into exile from the Garden of Eden. The human heart does not fit, is insecure, and longs for something we lost even if we do not recognize the presence of longing and even if we were never told about the garden we lost.
Listen to the words of your favorite songs, watch the plots of your favorite movies, consider the reflections of your favorite works of art, and you will often find the artists describing these disrupted states of the human heart.
Jesus saw this when He looked at the fallen human heart. When He talked about going to prepare a place for us, He was not simply describing materialistic mansions in the sky. He described a place of belonging, planned, prepped, and made ready for us. It is a place of fulfillment, contentment, belonging, realized hope, and authentic life. It is a place where you and I fit according to the original design God imprinted upon our hearts.
One Way, One Truth, One Life
The wholeness of true life that Jesus wanted for us is founded and built upon Him and Him alone.
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
It is not simply about going to heaven. It is about entering a new state of healed and whole life that is born upon the principles of Christ. He is the way. He is the way. He is the LIFE! We find our way back to where we belong, the place He has custom-made for each of us through Him!
When the words of Christ lead us toward a relationship with God, it is not simply a pathway to heaven after we die. He is leading us to a place of internal healing we all need in the here and now for a functional and fulfilled life. He wants to heal the root issues of our fallen hearts and the damage done by a fallen world and circumstances piled on top of those fractures.