To believe Him is to know Him as He is, and trust Him totally with our whole life.
In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus and His Apostles at table together on the night of the Last Supper. We find the famous words of Our Lord telling them that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6) Often we see or hear this phrase without the context in which it was said. I would just like to offer some brief thoughts on how this phrase, and the rest of the passage, get at what it means to believe in Jesus Christ.
Trust the Person
“You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (Jn 14:1). Right away, Jesus is asking for trust. He wants them to believe! He is offering the opportunity for eternal life with God, His Father. All there is to do is to trust and follow Him. We can practically hear the yearning in His voice! “I have told you all of these things and have offered you life with Me. Would I have done that if it wasn’t all true? Don’t you believe me?” He is saying this to the twelve men who know Him better than anyone, yet they seem to be hesitant.
“Master...how can we know the way...show us the Father” (Jn 14:8,9)
They want to follow “the way and the truth and the life” as if it were just a set of teachings that lead to eternal life.The Apostles are looking for Jesus to give them a thing to believe and follow. They don’t seem to get it. It’s not a thing, it’s a Person.
Response to the Promise
Their response pains Jesus. “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip...Do you not believe?” (Jn 14:9) Jesus wants His friends to have faith not in His words, but in Him who is the very Word in His Person. Friends, how often are we like our brother, Philip? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer may surprise us. Our faith can be weak. We easily fall into thinking that Jesus’ promise to “take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” is too good to be true. That if we leave it to Him, He might not provide for us, and He will inevitably let us down. So we cling to whatever we can find as a source of security, but in the process we stop Jesus from drawing us to Himself. We cry and pray to Jesus, asking Him to show us the way and tell us what to do. “Jesus, tell me how to follow You. Show me how to be close to the Father. Then I’ll let go!” We make these things the conditions of our belief in the Person, in Him. But He has already answered our conditions just by being Himself.
Belief and Surrender
Belief in Jesus comes first. He is who He says He is. Jesus is the Son of God, the savior of the world, and we must renew our belief in Him. Friends, He wants each of us. He is ceaselessly yearning for us to live in the eternal joy of heaven with Him. He wants you to believe, to have faith in Him. And to believe Him is to know Him as He is, and trust Him totally with our whole life. It is an act of surrender. When we give ourselves in trust to Our Lord, we let Him take us to Himself, who is the way and the truth and the life, and we rest in the peace and safety of the Father’s embrace.
“I am in the Father and the Father is in me...no one comes to Father except through me” (Jn 14:6,11).
We cannot do it by our own power or control, we must surrender. And when we do, He promises that “whoever believes in me will do the works that I do” (Jn 14:12). We will live as Christ lives, in union with God the Father through the Holy Spirit. So, brothers and sisters, listen again to the words of Jesus: “Do not let your hearts be troubled...I AM the way and the truth and the life.”