“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
There was a time when, as a younger man, I used to feel charged up by these words in John 14:6 – “No one comes to the Father except through me”. They reassured me that I was on the right track in my Christian beliefs. They gave me confidence. Then something happened. I grew up, and these words made me feel embarrassed.
I don’t think it was really the words that were the problem. It was the way I saw them being used – to belittle people who were not card-carrying Christians, and who were therefore on the wrong track. ‘No one gets to the Father except through Jesus. Sorry Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and wannabe Christians who don’t see Jesus as the exclusive source of salvation. You are not going to make it! Jesus is the only way!’
Even then, I had many friends who were not Christians that I loved and admired. I didn’t know what to do with this exclusive language. Was my problem with my friends or with Jesus? Then something else happened. I grew up again!
As we grow in the faith, we learn to read the Bible in context. In this case, that means seeing these words in the context of Jesus’ final meal with His disciples. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, and then He told them that He was about to go away, and that they knew the way where He was going. Thomas replied in a panic, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Of course, Thomas did know, and they all knew, as Jesus had spoken to them multiple times about his imminent suffering and death. They just could not reconcile their hopes and dreams with Jesus’ apparent death wish.
Jesus’ assertion, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) wasn’t part of any discussion on comparative religions. These were intended to be words of comfort, introduced with, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). Jesus was telling his followers that they were going to have to trust Him through the chaos that was about to overtake them. They were looking for an explanation that would help them make sense of it all. Jesus could not give them any such explanation but instead promised to go through it all with them, and He assured them that this would be enough.
Having said all that, there’s obviously more to Jesus’, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ than simple reassurance. This is one of the great “I am” statements recorded in John’s gospel, where Jesus seems to take on the divine name – “I am” – which was the name of God given to Moses back in Exodus 3:14. In identifying Himself in this way, Jesus doesn’t only claim to be all that His disciples needed at the time. He claims to be able to meet the needs of all of us in all times! Indeed, He says that He is ‘the way’ – that is, the path out of exile and back into ‘the promised land’. He creates a path back to the Father – not only for His disciples, but for all of humanity!
I appreciate that, when taken in this context, these “I am” statement from Jesus are a little mystifying. Well … that’s been my history with John 14:6. I’ve gone from feeling reassured to feeling embarrassed to feeling mystified, and that’s not a bad place to end up when it comes to Jesus. I don’t think we will ever fully understand Jesus, and yet we know Him well enough to trust Him, and that is enough.😊
Our Sunday Eucharist
We had another wonderful Eucharist last Sunday. A big thank you to David, to Tom, and to our friend from London, Dr Stephen Sizer, who gave us a sizzling homily on the marks of a healthy church, based on our reading from Acts, chapter 2.
Last Sunday was also ‘Shepherding Sunday’, which meant that we read (and sang) the twenty-third Psalm – ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’. I especially appreciated hearing Tom’s insights into the Psalm, coming from a Shia Muslim perspective.
We have a very special Sunday Eucharist coming up this week with one old friend returning and two guests we have never had join me before.
George Christensen is going to be sharing his thoughts on the Gospel reading via a pre-recorded video, and it will be interesting to see whether George’s insights have any overlap with my own, given above. Our new guests, joining us live, are Craig Rea, from the Australian National Council of Patriots (ANCOP), and Andrew Logan.
I only met Andrew last Saturday night through his partner, Gigi Foster, who was the keynote speaker at our Down the Rabbit Hole Ball. Craig I’ve known for a little while through his dedicated work for ANCOP, though we have never met in person, primarily because he lives in a remote location in northern Queensland.
So … this Sunday could be a bit of a surprise package. Craig and Andrew and I have never worked together live before. Who knows what might happen? It could be a complete fiasco, but I’m trusting that He who is the way, the truth and the life will be joining us too, and that great things will result! 😊
Join us at midday this Sunday via www.thesundayeucharist.com or via your favourite social media platform: Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram.
Let me work your corner
Thank you once again to all of you who support Fighting Fathers Ministries through your prayers and through monthly financial contributions. A special thank you to those who gave their support through attending the fundraiser last Saturday night.
Apparently, we’ll receive around $5,000 from last Saturday’s event, which is wonderful, though we’ll still need your monthly contributions to sustain us long term. Accordingly, if you’re not contributing financially and can afford to, please go to Patreon.com and sign up to either:
- Enrol in the Fighting Fit training program
- Access member-only training videos
- Engage in the members-only forum (see below)
- All of the above +
- One-on-one mentoring via email, phone, or Skype
- All of the above +
- Unlimited training at Father Dave’s Old School Boxing Academy
- All of the above +
- One weekend per month at Binacrombi Bush Camp.
Every dollar helps keep the wheels turning – the websites, the newsletters, the broadcasts, the boxing club and the bush camp. Sign up at Patreon.com.
- Saturday, May 6th – Boxing from 3.00 pm @The Fight Lab
- Sunday, May 7th– Our Eucharist from midday via thesundayeucharist.com or via Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram
- Tuesday, May 9th – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Thursday, May 11th – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Friday, May 12th to Sunday, May 14th – @Binacrombi for all who can join me.
- Saturday, May 20th – Sydney Marches for Julian Assange (details here)
You may have noticed that my trip to Binacrombi has been delayed a week. I’ll be in Melbourne on Friday, May 5th, for the funeral of my friend, Father Bob, and I couldn’t get back in time to make it to the bush by evening. I’ll return Saturday, but not in time for boxing. Thank you to Rob El Masri who will be managing the team on Saturday.
Do please join me at Binacrombi for the May 12 to 14 weekend. I’m keen to teach my BLEST system (breathing, listening, eating, stress and touch) to all who are keen to develop their physical and spiritual fitness. My friend (and kickboxing legend) Grant ‘the Bomber’ Barker has said that he’ll join me for that weekend. It would be great to have as many of you Fighting Fathers there with us as we can fit.
One positive consequence of switching weekends at Binacrombi is that it frees me up to participate in the march for Julian Assange on Saturday, May 20. Thank you to Karyn for keeping us up-to-date on these actions. I believe there will be another protest on the following Wednesday, aligning with Joe Biden’s visit to Oz. I’ll be staying with John (Julian’s dad) this Saturday night so I should have more details soon. If not, I’m sure Karyn will supply them.😊
Two more things in closing:
Firstly, our brother, Father Mark Battison, is involved in some amazing scooter race, aimed at raising money to combat prostate cancer and support men’s mental health. You can read all about it and sponsor Mark here.
Finally, let me close by thanking all those responsible for the wonderful Down the Rabbit Hole Ball that happened last Saturday night. A special thank you to Andrew and Lena Madry, to our speakers, Gigi, Tony and Steve, to Joel, our incomparable MC, and to all who poured time and effort into the event. It was a wonderful night. I’ve included some pics today, and a video of my address. Hopefully, more pics and videos will pour in over the coming days and we can enjoy them together.
Yes, the event was a fundraiser for Fighting Fathers Ministries and I’m told that we’ll receive around $5,000 in proceeds. That will certainly help keep the wheels turning, and is deeply appreciated. What was even more appreciated by me personally though was the sense I had at the event of being a part of a supportive community again. I once used to feel that with the church – that they had my back. Even so, when things went pear-shaped for me in 2020, my church abandoned me. That’s how it felt anyway. Reconnecting with a new community has taken a while but last Saturday night was a significant transitional moment for me. Thank you.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
P.P.S. In case you didn’t pick it up in the list of sites (above), we’ve launched a new site to promote our boxing academy – www.oldschoolboxing.academy. All feedback and suggestions as to how we might improve the site are appreciated.
About Father Dave Smith
Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four