[by Eric Zander]
We guide them, from where they have arrived on their own journey,
towards the door and the new path awaiting them.
To demonstrate Who He is and why He has come, Jesus chose several images. In His famous ‘I am’s He identifies Himself as a door, bread, light, a shepherd, a vine, a path…. But there is one image that the disciples chose to keep to identify their legacy from their master, to mark the movement that Jesus has begun: the path or the Way.
It is “those who belong to the Way” that Paul goes to Damascus to arrest (Acts 9:2; 22:4). It is “The Way” that Priscilla and Aquila teach to Apollos (Acts 18), that the Jews despise and that turns Ephesus upside down (Acts 19). Paul sums it up well in his defence before Governor Felix: “I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of The Way which they call a sect” (Acts 24:14).
The disciple is essentially a follower of Jesus on the path of life. He has chosen to leave the broad road that leads to destruction to take to the narrow and difficult way that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14).
Jesus reminds us that every man and woman around us is travelling on the “Highway to Hell”. They are not “nowhere”: they advance, they seek meaning, hope, fulfilment, love, peace… even if they mistake the way. And God draws them to Himself by suggesting forks in the road that would lead them to the narrow way that leads to life. Quite often, it is His children that He places at the crossroads of their lives to show the way. But not with a standard message that is tossed to them uniformly or in explaining to them how far they have gone astray. We guide them, from where they have arrived on their own journey, towards the door and the new path awaiting them.
And this narrow door is only the beginning of a long and difficult path, but with Jesus at our side. We must remind ourselves that each disciple journeys with Jesus, each at his own pace, one step at a time. God pursues the work that He has begun in each of us, to the end of the road when we will see Him. But from here to there, we journey, each on our own, but also together, as a family, helping each other to grow (to advance) in faith (1 Thess. 5:11).
Whether we are novices or a long time on the way, out of breath or keeping up, we want to bring one and another to journey along on the Way of Jesus.