Did you know that Christians have not always been called Christians?* No, before that, they were called followers of the Way.* Have you ever thought about what that meant or where it came from? We can find the answer in today’s reading from John 14. Jesus was having this back-and-forth with his disciples about where he was going and the preparations he was making for them. Then he told them:
Jesus now tells them they know the way to where he’s going. Though they couldn’t follow him there now, they would eventually, and they apparently knew how.
This was obviously news to the disciples, which leads to Thomas’ question. How could they possibly know the way, if they didn’t have a clue to where he was even going?
The Way answer was literally looking at them in the face: I am the way, the truth and the life.
Where were they going? To the Father.
How would they get there? Through Jesus.
As Paul later referred to “seeing through a mirror dimly,” the disciples were getting a blurred picture of what would be made immensely clearer with the arrival of the Holy Spirit post resurrection. Thankfully, John wrote it all down, so we could understand it as well.
To be a follower of the Way is to be a follower of Christ. What is Christ the way to? God. To know Christ is to know God and live in fellowship with him.
Jesus wasn’t leading the disciples to a government overthrow or religious earthly kingdom. He was leading them to a relationship.
Knowing the Way (Jesus), leads us to the Truth of God’s message for the nations and Eternal Life in fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Being a follower of the Way does shake the world, because we are no longer intimidated, as we live in security and peace through the hope only Christ can give.
Though I don’t mind being called a Christian (a little Christ), I really like the idea of being referred to as a follower of the Way, as it can open doors to more conversations. “The Way to what?” a person might ask. To which I can reply, “Not the Way to what, but to whom. Jesus is the Way to God, and since he’s the only way, I choose to follow him.”
I find it interesting that in the polytheistic Greek and Roman world of the day, only the beliefs of Christ followers were called the Way. Everything else is just a way to something. Only in Christ do we have The Way to the One God and Father of us all.
May his way be your way today and always, to his glory.
Grace and Peace
*Acts 9:1-2. (See also Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4, 24:4, 14, 22)