“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. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “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 except through me. John 14:3-6 (ESV)
I remember so clearly the agony of having to leave my girls when they were little. Whether it was preschool, the nursery at church or the drop-in daycare at the gym, their big, blueberry eyes would well up with tears and their lower lips would quiver when they saw me slink for the door. I hated to leave them as much as they hated to see me go.
I imagine if I were one of the disciples at that last Passover supper with Jesus, I would have felt a little like a child being left behind. What do you mean, you’re leaving? You can’t leave me now!
Jesus had to leave. He had a monumental task before Him, a plan set in motion before the foundation of the world. He didn’t leave the disciples bereft, however. Rather, He left them with a promise: where I am you may be also.
Jesus’ words confused the disciples. Where was He going? How were they supposed to follow? They didn’t know the way.
“…I am the way…”
Although the disciples didn’t know it then, Jesus was making the way. The way to eternity, to God the Father, built with His own flesh and cemented with His blood. Jesus didn’t come to show them the way, but to be the way.
In grief, Jesus left His friends that night, but He did it to fulfill a promise: that those who believe would find the way in Him…that they would never be separated from Him again.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)