Jan 272011
 

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

In light of the Logos-centered Christology reviewed in Part 1, we can revisit John 14 and hear Jesus speaking to his disciples both personally and spiritually, his voice moving back and forth between the unique humanity of their loving teacher and friend and the divine universality of the Logos, and sometimes richly speaking with double-meaning:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these….

“If you love me, keep my commands. … Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. …”

For now I’ll leave it for you, if you wish, to work out how these various statements might fit into the view we are considering.  My concerns at this point are the keynotes in Jesus’ call to know the Logos as the Way of realizing union with God.

If Jesus is telling his disciples that knowing the Logos is the Way, then he is telling them that the Way is within themselves just as it is in him.  This is not at all surprising when we recall that he has also said the Kingdom of God is within.  If we, like Phillip, want to see the Father, Jesus is telling us we must look within ourselves, behind the mask of human personality and deep into the root of our own consciousness and being, into our own “I am-ness”, and thus come to know the Logos within ourselves.  His instruction is nothing less than a prescription for mystical practice, but a contemplative opening inward isn’t all there is to it.  Jesus is quite clear that an indispensable part of the Way is following the commands of the Logos, Its compassionate inspiration, to do loving works in the world.  Actually, this must be so because to really know the Logos that was speaking through Jesus, and that also lives and speaks in you, is to know It is present in everyone.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:11)

So it is that our love for others, as manifested in the works we do for others, is evidence of how much we know and love the Logos, and thus God.  The internal and the external are repaired, reintegrated, reunited by the loving grace of Logos. It’s love for us and our love for It is one and the same love flowing out and back upon Itself, as it is written in 1 John 4:7-21 (emphasis added):

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

God is love, and God’s first-born, the Logos, the rational animating principle, is love.  One does not truly know love without being loving, thus to love is to know the Logos and so realize union with God.  The practice of love is mystical practice; to be loving is the Way, the Truth and the Life, in silent contemplation of the One and caring for others and ourselves.  This union of both passive devotion and active participation is the bhakti yoga of Jesus Christ, as encapsulated in his assertion of the Great Commandments.  The degree to which we have such faith in and experience with Divine Love as the meaning of our unique yet interconnected lives is the degree to which we are anointed, “christed”, and have died to the illusion of separation from God and others.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4)

Of course, this way of understanding Jesus and his message is not the only way, and there are many Christians who would not agree with it.  Let it be so.  After all, love is more than the effort to “fathom all mysteries and all knowledge”.  So, to reiterate, the purpose of these reflections has not been to attack other views, but rather to offer another possibility to those who are seeking, and to greet those who are also on this way.

Maranatha!

  3 Responses to “The Way, the Truth, and the Life – Part 2”

  1. Again, many thanks for this exposition, Chuck.

    It expresses so well in words what I have known for years. I cannot remember, even as a child, a time when I did not believe that this is the real meaning of the way, the truth and the life, but I was unable to explain it.

    So much of what Jesus taught works on two levels, a superficial level, and a deeper level, too.

    Well done!

    Tone

  2. Very nice piece Chuck….definitely bread for contemplation.
    Steve

  3. Tony and Steve,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Chuck

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)