“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” What a claim! And, if you believe the truth of it, could there be anything more important than your response to it?
Many of us are aware that, like a puzzle with a missing piece, our lives are not quite right; not quite whole. And into this incompleteness comes the claim to be… God. The purpose. The answer. Could this be the missing piece – the answer to that nagging feeling of emptiness that, if we were to admit it, so many of us feel deep in the pits of our stomachs? Is this what our minds – dare we say, souls – quest for, when we lie down at night, our thoughts beginning to wander, and we feel an aching sense of loneliness?
The truth of the matter is that no matter how rich or famous, well-fed, well-connected or even well-loved we are, that ache doesn’t go away. We might try to stuff it full of material possessions, achievements, little hobbies, or even other people, but they can never fill it. Maybe they’re just the wrong shape.
Over time, we might get used to this hole. We might live quite happily with its presence, because we know nothing different… until one day, like a short-sighted man putting on glasses for the first time, or like your Netflix video suddenly showing clearly on a faster WiFi connection than you’ve ever had before, your view of the world is transformed. This transformation can occur only one way: through relationship with the living God. Of course, this belief in God and relationship with Him can only effect this transformation, can only be this important, on one condition – if it is true. In the words of C.S Lewis, great writer and theologian, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
So we must ask the question: which is it? Insignificant, or so significant that everything else is meaningless in its light. In short: is it true?
In terms of evidential proof, many minds, great and small, have concluded that the answer is, “yes” – but there is a truth that goes beyond intellectual proof. It is this truth to which Jesus referred when He said, “I am… the truth.” The original word, the word He used, carries the deeper meaning of doing, knowing and experiencing the truth – the way that we are able to experience Jesus Christ when we accept Him as Lord. However certainly we might know who He is, it is in relationship with Him that our perceptions change and we begin to understand the truth about God and the world around us.
In Him we find life, where before we have had fear, guilt and spiritual death. We begin to examine our hearts and the hearts of others, and are startled to find the image of Christ in others, and startlingly un-Christ-like traits in ourselves. We realise our own need for forgiveness, and the grace of God that has been so freely extended to ourselves and to the world around us.
Perhaps most significantly, we find that we need no longer fear death – because it is removed from us in the promise of eternal Life, starting now and extending into an eternity of relationship with Christ. When we are lost, we find our Way; where the world deals in shades of grey, we have found the Truth, and where, in ourselves, we can find only death, we are alive in Him.
Christianity is not boring – it brings life fully lived. It is not false – it is the greatest truth we can know. It is not irrelevant – it is transformative.