When I lose my car keys, I firstly search all over the house for them. When I cannot find them, I often panic and I go back to the same places where I have already searched. I know they are not there but, in my desperation, I go back to the same place again and again in the hope they will magically appear.
After I have done this, I start looking for my keys in unusual places where they are unlikely to be, like in the microwave or at the back of my cupboard near my shoes. I do not just do this with my car keys, I do it in my search for meaning and significance in my life. I try to find meaning in life in all the places that I have searched before. It is a trap that we fall into. We look for significance in where we live or the type of car we drive. We try to find it in our jobs, appearance or level of fitness. All these things can be good, but they become dangerous and destructive when we try to find meaning in them.
In the book of John, Jesus speaks to his friends just a few days before he dies. He has told them that he is going to prepare a place for them – an eternal home in heaven. However, they are confused about their route there. One of Jesus’ friends, Thomas, asks, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Thomas feels lost and confused. Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus does not offer his friends a how-to guide or a step-by-step plan. He does not give them Google Maps or an Excel spreadsheet with every step mapped out. Jesus offers them himself. Jesus is telling us that he is the way, the truth and the life. They are bold claims, aren’t they? You see, at its heart, Christianity is not a set of beliefs or philosophies or rules. It is not a list of rituals or morals to adhere to. Christianity is all about Jesus. Jesus goes on to say, “No one comes to the Father except through me”. Jesus boldly asserts that our way out of lostness and purposelessness towards true life is only found through him.
There are so many things that we are tempted to look to in our search for meaning and purpose. We go back to the same things again and again. Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Why not try something new instead of ploughing over old ground and expecting it to yield something different? Jesus is offering a new way, one characterised by truth and one that offers real and everlasting life.