Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 5-7)
Thomas always seems to ask Jesus tough questions. And Jesus’ answer to this question has probably raised more questions for many Christians than anything else Jesus ever says. Some people see this as a direct command to evangelism, a call to convert others to the Christian faith. In its wake, many followers of Christ have done much wonderful and powerful good in the world. Unfortunately, this verse has also been used as a reason to oppress others in the name of God, and history is full of examples of those who have gone on crusades, using both peaceful and forceful means to convert others to Christianity.
Is it possible that Jesus was saying to Thomas that no one comes to God without first struggling to figure out who God is? We have such difficulty with the concept of the Trinity. How can God be three people? How can God be Jesus’ father? How can God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all be one? How can Jesus be fully human and fully divine? Can someone who thinks Jesus was just a man still believe in God? Unless we mindlessly accept what we read in the Bible, all of us struggle to try to figure out all the contradictions we read there. Perhaps, though, the struggle is the way to—and through—God. Perhaps any sort of conversion is positive only when others have the desire to convert because they have seen the face of God in us, just as many see the face of God in Jesus.
Wondering: What does Jesus mean when he says, “No one comes to the Father except through me”? How can we find our way to God by wandering after Jesus?