Following the Way:  A Bible Study
for the Sunday Following Easter
(April 23)
by Rev. Lee Johnson
April 23, 2022

READY
:

Whitney Myers is an eclectic Christian, having been a United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist. Living in Gettysburg PA., he writes music and devotionals. Several years ago he wrote about “The Way,” reminding readers in the days following the death and resurrection of Christ, “The Way” soon became the most widely known name for the early Christian Church, first used in Acts 9.1-2. In Acts, Myers says, “The Way” becomes a journey, a manner of thinking, feeling, and deciding. In Acts, believers were instructed in “The Way” of the Lord. In her book “Freeing Jesus,” author and theologian Diana Butler Bass writes about “The Way,” noting, “Throughout the Gospels, Jesus invited people to follow him, to walk with him, to go on a journey.” You know, “The Way,” an invitation for followers to embrace his message and put it to everyday practice.  Butler Bass notes there is nothing unusual about this invitation, for the ancient world was full of spiritual leaders who asked others to follow their particular way. However, says Butler Bass, “In the gospel of John, Jesus not only taught others to follow him and his way,” he also taught others he was the way. Take a moment and read John 14.6a.  Ponder the words. What have you been “taught” about this part of the verse?  What particular meaning does it have for you and your Christian journey? What does it mean to proclaim Jesus as the way?

SET

Of course, that’s not all of John 14.6. The verse has two parts, and part b goes on to say, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” It sounds as though Jesus is the exclusive way to God, the only way. Is that what it means to follow “The Way?” Interestingly, in Acts, you find a proclamation of “The Way” led to near-riot conditions in Ephesus (see Acts 19.23- 41). Do you suppose that’s what Jesus had in mind when he called himself “The Way?” The Prince of Peace and “near-riot conditions” seems oxymoronic as best. The days following the celebration of Easter should lead us to consider what it means to follow the ways of Jesus. Is it an exclusive way? Is there but one path on the way to God? How have you understood John 14:6b? If no one comes to God save for through Jesus, what does that mean for others taking a different way?  Where does that path lead? Is it in Jesus’ nature to be exclusive? Or inclusive?

GO:

About 15 years ago, Dan Kimball wrote “They Like Jesus But Not the Church.” In his work, Kimball traveled the United States interviewing those in the “emerging generation” about their views of the Christian church. In his conversations, Kimball experienced the exclusive attitudes many Christians held about other religions were seen as a deterrence to the outsider looking in. Jesus' words in John 14.6 occur in an intimate conversation with his disciples on the night prior to his death. “Where I am going,” said Jesus to his disciples in John 13.33, “You cannot come.” Peter responds, “Where are you going?” Later Thomas asks, “We do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?” About this conversation, Butler Bass points out, John 14.6 emerges not because the disciples were worried about other religions, rather, they are scared for themselves and the loss of a friend. Jesus' words were spoken out of love, to reassure them. They were not intended to become exclusive fodder for Christians as the institutional church has done with these words. It’s no wonder, “They like Jesus but not the church.” So, what does it mean to follow “The Way” on these days after Easter?  

READ

John 14:6

WATCH:

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Beginning Sunday at 11:00 am for Live-Stream or 5:00 pm for Recorded Worship

REPEAT:

"Lord, let me follow your way of love this week."

 

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