On the night before he died on the cross, Jesus dined with his friends. How I would love to have witnessed that scene! Last year, my wife and I went to Milan, amongst other reasons, to see a painting of that occasion – the Last Supper – by Leonardo da Vinci. The painting is full of drama, depicting the moment when Jesus was betrayed by one of his friends, Judas, to the consternation of all the others. Jesus, being both fully man and fully God, knew exactly what was about to happen. In fact, it was to trigger the culmination of Jesus’s life mission: the rescue plan, conceived before time for everyone who believes.
During the evening, Jesus had talked openly about the fact that this would be his last meal and told his followers that he would prepare a place for them. Thomas, more worried it seems about his own death than that of Jesus, asked how he would know how to find that place. Jesus’ reply has rung through history with profound reverberations.
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life”.
For Christians across all the different churches of the world, those words proclaim the Easter good news. Jesus is the way to heaven. His words are the truth by which we are to live. Believing in him is the key to a fulfilled and joyful life now and in an eternity spent in God’s company.
Some might say these are the words of a madman. But history records that this unconventional religious teacher was crucified the following day and, in keeping with his own prediction, was raised from the dead on that first Easter Sunday. The Bible tells us that the resurrected Jesus appeared to over 500 people on one of numerous occasions, proving to those willing to accept the possibility that he was God incarnate. This Eastertide we celebrate that good news afresh.