Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14: 5-6
Good morning Prayer Team!
Before His Passion, after the Last Supper, Jesus gave a long discourse to His Disciples. This is found in John 13-17. In this long discourse, He covered many topics, including revealing Himself as the way to the Father.
I love how the disciples of Jesus are so much like us. There are not religious scholars. They didn’t have the benefit of Sunday school. They have a “desire” for God, as evidenced by their following Jesus for three years. Yet, they have a lot of questions and doubts. They have an understanding of God, just like we have an understanding, but not a mastery of who God is. They also have a desire to know more about God.
Jesus reveals God as His Father. Immediately prior to today’s verse, Jesus tells the Disciples “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know where I am going.” (John 14:2-4) He is, of course, speaking about the kingdom of heaven. Heaven, He reveals to them, a place of many rooms, enough to accommodate ALL the people who love God. By His impending crucifixion and Resurrection, Jesus was going to pave the way to heaven, preparing a place for the disciples, not just the twelve, but anyone who wanted to follow after Jesus, any “disciple.”
Can you imagine what it must have been like as Jesus spoke to the Disciples, with love, with conviction, with hope? Of course, no matter how much compassion He had, and no matter how welcoming His voice was, the Disciples then (as well as we disciples now) had questions. Thomas asked Jesus “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” (14:5) Jesus responded, “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” (14:6) The way to God the Father is through Jesus the Son. The way to heaven is through faith in the Resurrection of Christ. The way to eternal life is living a life in Christ, being engaged in a life of faith, love and good works, loving God and loving neighbor.
“What is truth?” (John 18:38) Pontius Pilate asked this question of Jesus during His trial before Pilate. Jesus told Pilate “For this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37) What is the truth? In a nutshell, it’s John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” The truth is that God created the world. He created it perfect. He desired for His creation to live in communion/union with Him. When the creation fell away through mankind’s choice to go away from God, God still desired to for mankind to live in communion with Him. So, He provided the “way” for this to happen, through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. So, Jesus is the “way”, the means, as well as the witness to this “truth,” that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to redeem us.
Jesus is the “life” because His life shows what it means to live in communion with God. Jesus did what Adam could not do. He maintained a love of God at all times. He maintained a desire to be in communion with God at all times, in times of temptation, in times of sorrow, at all times. By emulating His life, we are led to eternal life.
Thus, Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. And it is up to us to live as to believe in the TRUTH that He revealed, to imitate the LIFE that He demonstrated for us, and in doing so, we will make our WAY back to the Kingdom of God, which is the TRUTH of why God created the world and created mankind to live in it.
The challenge for us is does our way, our truth and our life match His? Do we wish to walk the “way” to God? Do we hold Jesus’ teachings as our “truth”? And does our “life” match the “way” and the “truth” as He revealed them?
O Christ, the true light that enlightens and sanctifies every man who comes into the world, let the light of Your countenance shine on us, that in it we may behold the unapproachable light. And direct our steps to keep Your commandments, by the intercessions of Your all-immaculate Mother and all the saints. Amen.
Choose to walk God’s path in your life today, learn more every day about His truth so that you can follow His way to Him with conviction and with hope.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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