Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Road

Roads, what would we do without them? Roads are so much a part of our lives that we really take them for granted; we really don’t pay much attention to them, that is until they become so pockmarked with potholes we have to take our cars in to the shop to be realigned.
Roads are pretty important to us. Think what it would be like to live somewhere where there were any roads, just paths.
The United States has a whole network of roads crisscrossing the country from East to West and from the Canadian border on the North to the Mexican border on the South. There are Interstate highways, Federal highways, state highways, and county roads. All of them are very important to the people who live along them and to those who use them every day to go to work. How many of you remember what it was like before the interstate highways were constructed? What about before they had graveled roads? How many of you remember the County C road from Hancock to Atlantic? I remember it being so dusty we would drive to Avoca and take Highway 83 to Atlantic. Talking about these roads bring back a lot of memories.
What roads do you remember that bring back memories? How about Highway 6? It used to be the road we drove to go to the State Fair in Des Moines, or what about Route 66? There was a song written about it and even a TV show.
Roads were important in Jesus’ day too. The Romans were very good at building roads. In order to move their troops quickly from one hotspot to another they needed to have good roads for their cavalry and their foot soldiers.
Jesus traveled on quite a few roads as he spread the good news and healed the sick and the lame. He was very familiar with all the roads leading into and out of Jerusalem. These were the roads he walked when they came to the city to celebrate the Holy Feasts and the Passover. Remember when Mary and Joseph started home and walked three days before they realized he wasn’t with them. They had to travel that road back into the city and try to find Jesus.
There are a few roads mentioned in the Word but today in John’s gospel Jesus says he is the Road. In fact his road is the only route that can be taken to get to the Father.
Jesus had been telling the disciples that he was going to be leaving them and where he was going they wouldn’t be able to come. Peter couldn’t understand why he couldn’t go with him; he was willing to give his life for Jesus. He didn’t know that soon he would deny that he ever knew him, in fact he would deny him three times.
Jesus told them not to worry because where he was going there would be plenty of room for everyone. And he would be coming back to get them.
He told them they already knew the road he was taking. But they didn’t understand what he was telling them. Thomas was lost. He didn’t know which road to take. And when Jesus told them he was the Road I’ll bet that confused them even more. It sounded like they didn’t even know who he was talking about when he said that he was the way to the Father.
And we are still confused today. Jesus is a Road? He’s the way to the Father? What does he mean and how is it possible? This is a mystery to many people yet today.
God came here as a baby born of a virgin so that we would know his love and compassion for us his children. You want to know what God is like, read the gospels. You want to know how much he cares for you, read the stories Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote about their Master, Jesus.
Jesus is the Way, he is the Road to the Father. Read everything written about Jesus and then read it again and then read it again. You will begin to realize the love God has for us because of the love Jesus, his Son, had for the least of those in Galilee. You will see how much he loved the people he met on the roads he walked in surrounding country.
Jesus really is the only road to the Father. He is the only way we can come to know God. How is this possible? It’s possible because I believe that with God anything is possible and that’s enough for me.
Not everyone believed though. As Peter said the religious of Jesus’ day rejected his claims. He was a threat to them and so they had him killed, they crucified him on a cross because he was a stumbling block; he was a barricade on the road they were traveling. So they dismissed him
But friends, we have all been called by this one who is now our cornerstone to walk the Road to eternity. We have been called to tell others the good news that God’s kingdom is here today. We are called to tell others what a difference Jesus has made in our lives.
In order to do that my friends we have to have walked on the Road. We have to know where the Road is and where it leads and how to tell someone how to find it. Do you have a map; where’s your GPS? Friends, the map is sitting right there on the back of the pew in front of you. That’s right, the map for the Road is found in that book right there by the hymnals; you can find the Way in God’s Word.
But we’re not going to have much success until we open the book and read it. The Gate to the Road is so narrow that we’re going to have to keep going back to the same book again and again and again in order to stay on the right road.
The truth of the matter is just as Jesus said, He is the Road, also the Truth, and also the Life. The only way to the Father is through him. And the only way to know him is by reading the Word again and again and again.
So if God is calling to you today, if he is telling you to get on the Road and you don’t quite know what he’s talking about, pick up the Book and read the gospels for a start. And then find someone to study with and talk to about what you’ve read. Don’t wait too long. God may be calling one of us home tomorrow and it will be too late to ask for help then.
Friends the Bible is the atlas complete with all the maps anyone will ever need to find their way along the Road to God. Find one today and start reading the map.
Thanks be to God for the Road. Amen.

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