Followership: Jesus as Way

Jesus’ choice of the word “way” is most likely his way of  responding to Thomas’ question, where the same word was used to frame the question, “How can we know the way?”

But it should not escape our attention that this is, in fact, the first term used to describe the earliest Christians:  followers of “the way” (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22).  C. S. Lewis takes note of this (as do others) in his book, The Abolition of Man.

The significance of this is staggering, for in adding the idea of Jesus as “way” to the picture (“logos” was already there), we have what is most likely the way the earliest Christians understood the affirmation, “Jesus is Lord.”  Among other aspects of Jesus’ Lordship is the fact that, in him, the West (logos) and the East (way) come together.

It’s quite likely that the earliest Christians saw Jesus in that exact light, and it is the same idea we sing “in Christ now meet both east and west….” twenty centuries later.

If we are in the ballpark on this, then we can only say that Jesus made the most astounding claim ever made—the claim to universality—and he identified himself as that “universal.”  And as Lewis noted in another writing, we only have three choices here: Jesus is a liar….a lunatic….or Lord.  As Christians, we stake our claim on the third option.

We must come back to this.  It is a revolutionary revelation—a monumental message; large enough to split history in two:  BC and AD.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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