Sermon for Easter 5 – 5.7.23

+ 5th Sunday of Easter – May 7th, 2023 +

Series A: Acts 6:1-9, 7:2, 51-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“I AM the Way”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Growing up we spent many summer weeks in Montana at Trinity Lutheran camp, swimming and playing on the NE shores of Flathead Lake. Several times we went white-water rafting down the middle fork of the Big Fork River. When you run a river you don’t need someone to point out the landmarks on a map, tell you where the class four and five rapids are, and send you off on your own. You need something more. Paul Pullman was a family friend and our river guide. Without him, we wouldn’t have made it down river safely. Not only did he know the way. He was the way.

 

I thought of that this week as I read Jesus’ words in John 14.

 

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

 

When Jesus declares, “I Am the Way,” what does this mean? Several things come to mind. We might think Jesus is saying that he is the way, as in he is a guide. And to be sure, Jesus does lead. But less like a tour guide on a bus calling out various landmarks, and more like a shepherd leading, guiding, tending sheep, like we heard last week.

 

We might think that when Jesus says he is the way that he means that he is our companion. And that is certainly true as well. Jesus promises his disciples, his church, you…I am with you always. This is good news. It’s true. And it’s comforting. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, not only in his birth for us, but also in his life lived for us, his dying and rising for us, his continued presence for us in His Word, water, body and blood.

 

When Jesus says he is the Way, we might think of a famous road or trail, that takes you from one place to another, like Route 66 or the Pacific Crest Trail. Jesus carries you on this journey out of darkness into light. Out of the grave into life. Out of sin and into God’s grace. No one comes to the Father, Jesus says, except through him.

 

This also means that when Jesus says, “I am the Way,” that he, and he alone, is the one who brings us along the way to the Father. Just like Mr. Pullman was the only way we were going to make it down the Big Fork River safely, only in a far greater way, when it comes to faith and life and eternal life in God’s presence. Jesus not only knows the way, leads you on the way, is present with you on the way, but he is the Way. Without Christ we are lost. Without Jesus there is no truth. Without Jesus there is no life.

 

The opposite is true as well, and this is good news. With Jesus, we are found, no longer lost in sin and death. Rescued in the words and wounds of Jesus. Jesus speaks the truth, objectively, concretely. Jesus is your life. His life laid down for your sin. His life raised up again for you.

 

For the disciples in the text, Jesus knows the way is going to get rough. He is about to be crucified and He knows His disciples will struggle with following Him. His disciples are troubled in spirit (14:1). Strange things have been happening. Resistance to Jesus has been growing. Rumors have it that the religious leaders are seeking to kill Jesus and not just Jesus but even Lazarus whom He raised from the dead (11:53, 57, and 12:10). The life Jesus brings (1:4) is now leading to His death and the disciples are distraught. They are anxious. And afraid.

 

Jesus has just washed his disciples’ feet, celebrated His last supper, identified His betrayer, and predicted Peter’s denial. He is about to go the way of the cross. But before He goes, He wants to comfort His disciples so they can continue to follow in the struggling days to come.

For this reason, Jesus speaks words to comfort His disciples. At the heart of these words is this “I am” statement. Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (14:6).

Jesus says these words to us, as he did to his disciples, knowing that in this world we will have trouble. There’s rough water ahead. And yet, Jesus is the Way.

Wherever life takes us, whatever twists and turns, Jesus promises. I am the Way. Jesus leads and guides. Jesus is the road, the way. Jesus is with you as he promised to be. Jesus is with you, carrying you safely to the Father by His word, by his life, by the way of his dying and rising.

The way of Jesus is the way of forgiveness. He bore His Father’s wrath so that no sin can ever separate you from His love. His way took Him through the grave and brought Him to life so that no threat of the Devil, no force of evil, not even the cold stone of death can take you away from Him. Jesus has risen and rules over all things.

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 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 if 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.

Is your heart troubled? By your past, by your present, by your future? By your sins, your failings, your death? Whatever the cause of the trouble, whatever the anxiety or terror or fear, trust the Father, trust Jesus His Son. Jesus has gone the way of death and resurrection to glory and has brought you along with Him in His humanity. You are baptized. You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s treasured possession. You are a part of the body of Christ, you are a member of the household of God, you are a priest in the royal priesthood of Jesus. He’s gone to prepare a place for you. He will raise you from the dead on the Last Day so that where He is you also will be. In Him you are already there.

 

Do not fear the way through this fallen world, for Christ Jesus who is the Way, is with you, and you are with him. Jesus points to his cross and empty tomb and says this is the way. I did this all for you. In Jesus, you are never lost, but always found. In Jesus, you are never dead, but always alive. In Jesus, you are brought along the way of his dying and rising, by him who is the way, the truth and the life.

 

Let us pray…

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977