The guard stood his ground and blocked the entryway.
“No, I don’t think you understand. Unless you have been invited you are not getting in.”
I extended my hand to the wall of the outer courts and leaned against it.
Exasperated, I rested my head against the cool clay wall and closed my eyes.
I ached with the desire to be in the presence of the one who, when everyone else deserted me, comforted me through the darkest moments of my life.
All of a sudden anger welled up in me. I pushed myself off the wall and stormed off away
from the light and noise of the gathering and stood in the darkness next to a palm tree.
I looked up at the stars and a breeze lazily lifted my hair of my forehead.
Looking at the stars in the silence of the night had always given me peace before, but
now I was seized with rage and my whole body was tensed.
Don’t my deeds count for something? All my life I’ve tried to be a good person.
I was faithful to my family, obedient to my parents, I followed all the laws that
were set before me.
In hopes of getting to be in the presence of the one I loved most I tried
everything to win favor with him.
And finally when I have the chance to be with him he does not let me in.
The sight of the night sky eventually calmed me and my anger turned into despair.
“So I guess this is it. I’m always going to be on the outside looking in.”
“Why is your heart cast down, child?”
I lowered my eyes from the sky to the silhouette of a man standing by me.
“I didn’t see you walk towards me. Why aren’t you inside?”
“I ask you the same question. Why are you not dining and singing joyful
songs in the home of my father?”
I squinted my eyes and tried to get a better a look at the man.
He turned and gestured towards the lit building in front of us.
“Is not that a better place to be then out here alone and in the darkness?”
I sighed and again I felt an ache in my heart.
“Believe me when I tell you that that is what I want more than anything.
But just a while ago I tried to enter in and I was stopped.
I explained to the man blocking my path that I knew the man inside
and that he would be pleased to see me.
The guard, however, said that I was not on the list of those he was allowed to let through.
I then told the man that I, more than one else, should be let through.
I was a good citizen and a righteous man.
“And as I was speaking to him this man in worn and ripped clothes came up.
The guard asked for his name and the let him through.”
“Good sir,” I addressed the mysterious man next to me. “Am I not clothed more finely than a king? My robes are of the finest cloth and crafted by the most excellent of cloth workers.
“How is it that this poorly looking man was let in and I was not? If you know the answer then please tell me because I am at a loss.”
“It is not the things that you do or the clothes that are on your back that will get you into my father’s house. All are worthless in my father’s eyes. He asked for obedience and faithfulness from those who serve him and all have fallen short of that. I tell you the truth, no one comes to my father except through me. For those who seek to be with my father, they must also seek me. For those who love my father, they must also love me.
Those who do not know me or do not love me my father will say he does not know them.”
The man turned and light illuminated his face. He resembled his father remarkably.
I bent down on one knee and bowed my head with respect.
“I am your father’s servant and now I am yours. Whatever you tell me to do, I shall do.”
The man put his hand on my shoulder.
“Arise and follow me.”
I stood up and the man led me towards the house I had failed to get into.
The guard saw us coming and moved out of the way with a bow.
A grin spread across my leader’s face as he entered the room.
“Father! I am home and I have brought a guest!”
The one who I had been trying to see my whole life stood up from the head of the table and
let out a bout of laughter.
“A guest of my son’s is a guest of mine! Come child,
I gladly welcome you into my home.”
He walked towards me and gave me a giant bear hug.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.’”