"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father, except through me." (John 14:6) NLT
An icy hand brushed over my face as I opened the kitchen door this morning. At first I sighed at the prospect of dark mornings, frost-covered spaces and the fading grandeur of Autumn. But the heavy sigh forced me to draw a deep breath, and the sharp chill refreshed all the way down. The thin air brings new sounds to my ears, memories of our first year in this wonderful home. The change of seasons (for me) always brings different ways of reflection, at times nostalgia, and an apprehensive kind of excitement of how our God will reveal Himself in the days and weeks to come. Our boys continue to bring such joy and heartache as their awareness of Jesus, and the world, grows - side by side. Getting to know Him again through their eyes in a childlike and trusting way. I am always amazed at how everything from the shape of a flower to the way the loo works is questioned, but the great mystery of Jesus is devoured like hungry puppies, without question or doubt.
Martin Luther said: The heart of the gospel is a changed life in Christ. But who is Jesus Christ of Nazareth to a child? Jesus Himself says: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). The heart of a child knows that. They came from the Father. And when Jesus continues to say a bit later in the conversation: "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;" a bit more of the mystery is revealed. God made flesh through his Son, who walked the dusty roads, got thirsty, hungry, angry and deeply sad. Who had fish braais on the beach with His friends the disciples. Was tempted in the desert by the devil and deserted on the cross by the Father, where he died so that we may have access to the same Father who woke Him up from death and seated Him on His right hand. "The Father and I are one" (John 10:30). All it takes to understand this, is the heart of a child. If we try to argue our way around it intellectually, we get trapped in our own perceived cleverness or confusion.
But how are we "changed" in Christ? By being obedient as a child that knows that he can trust his parents to guide him away from danger (darkness) into safety (light). Jesus continues to say in v 15: "If you love me, you will obey what I command". And then in chapter 15; almost sounding contradictory at first glance: "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love". But as we give up our love of ourselves, and make Jesus our First Love, would we not want to do as He wishes? And as we stay obedient (faithful) to our first love, we are able to remain in a place so near to His heart, that our own hearts will be set aflame each time we turn to Him.
How do we know what He commands? Through His Word. Because: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16). And all Scripture is relevant today, as much as it was when it was written. We cannot argue bits of it away by saying it was written for another time, directed only at specific individuals or groups. Old Testament or New - all relevant, now more than ever.
In Deuteronomy we read: Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you. Even though Jesus released us from bondage to the laws of the Old Testament, it is still irrevocably relevant if applied with the discernment of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). Why? For it all points to our Saviour. V18 confirms this: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1) Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega. What are the first words of the Bible? In the beginning God created the world. How? Through the Word - Jesus! The last words of the Bible: "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.
At the bottom of our "garden", at the entrance of the forest, the leaves and limbs shelter a newly made tree-house. Up and up a tall ladder leads to an open door. As my little boy ascends into this lofty place my heart contracts and my stomach flutters on his behalf. "Don't wari mamma" he says, "I ask Jesus to go with me". Ah yes, lets ask Jesus to go with us, each rung leading us closer to Him, each step in faith nearer to the glorious day when:
I shall see Him as He sees me. Face to face, the lover and the loved.
No more tears, the longing will be over. There with my precious Jesus.