The European Space Agency has reported a little difficulty with the placement of the two latest satellites in its Galileo programme. It is somewhat awkward that a programme intended to provide a satellite navigation system superior to the American GPS system should fail to correctly place two of its key components. All the same, if they succeed in this venture it will be truly impressive. Since the Americans unlocked some of the military grade capability of GPS in 2000 my hand-held GPS can track when I cross from one side of the road to the other. In ideal conditions it can pin-point my location to within a couple of metres. That is pretty impressive technology to have available free at the point of use by an average Joe like me!
Satellite technology has transformed how we locate ourselves and find our way. My trusty 2011 UK Road Map sits in a seat pocket in my car but is rarely troubled these days. Even so, if you don’t know where you want to get to, even the most accurate navigation system will not help you.
In John’s Gospel chapter 14 we read of the Lord Jesus telling His disciples that He was going away although they would subsequently be able to join Him. One of His followers, Thomas, said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
If you read the context, this discussion took place on the night in which Christ was about to be betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot. The journey that the Lord was speaking of was not going to be a normal journey. He was going to journey to a cross where He would die. Yet His journey would not end there. He would subsequently rise again and ascend back to heaven, from where He had come. No map or GPS system could ever plot that journey.
Thomas was right to ask his question. It stands for all time as a question that each of us must address … how can I know the pathway beyond death? Who will guide me beyond the boundary of physical consciousness?
The Lord Jesus answered Thomas’ question very precisely, “I am” He said, “the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through Me.” Note that He claimed to be the only way to God, the only source of truth and the unique author of life. These are no ordinary claims! If He was unable to back these up by doing exactly what He said He would do and rise from the dead do you think that His disciples would have been up for the persecution and martyrdom that faced them in subsequent years? As Shakespeare might have said, ‘I trow not!’
What the Lord Jesus was offering was a free-at-the-point-of-use guidance system even more astonishing than GPS! The Galileo programme is costing billions of Euros to implement but costs the user nothing. The price paid by the Lord Jesus to provide salvation is beyond computation yet the Bible tells us that, “the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”