John 14:6 - Hawaiian Navigators

Hawaiian Navigators

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, ESV)

In ancient Hawaii, a young man had to prove himself to his teacher and his people before he was considered a navigator of the vast waters surrounding the islands.

When the teacher, or kumu, thought his student was ready, he took the determined young man out onto the ocean during the night, blindfolded, somewhere to the middle where there was no land in sight.

Once they were there, the teacher threw the student overboard along with all the necessary parts to assemble his own canoe to get back home. The young man had to work quickly. Once he was afloat, he then navigated by the stars and the waves to find his way home. He passed the test if he made it back home.

Needless to say, the standard for these ancient methods of teaching was very high—and it needed to be. If a young man were to be entrusted with the life and safety of his family and community to get them where they needed to go or to find fishing grounds to feed his village, then he needed to be the best!

Just as the Hawaiian navigator had to follow the stars to make it back home, Jesus reminds us in today’s verse that there is no other way to our heavenly home – no other way to the Father – except through Him. So He says, “Come, follow Me … I am the Way.”

The Magi followed the “star in the east” so they could worship the newborn King of kings. That star led to Jesus, our Savior. By grace through faith, we are brought to our heavenly home in Christ alone because of His life, death and resurrection.

O ka pomaika’i, ka hanohano, ka nani, ame ka mana, e noho me iaia iho. Amene. (Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto Him. Amen.)

- Clarence De Lude III (Native Hawaiian), Vicar, Waianae, Hawaii

For many people, Hawaii is viewed as paradise. But for many of the 298,000 Native Hawaiians living in Hawaii, the island state is far from it. Native Hawaiians face the same issues as other Native communities - poverty, alcoholism, drug addictions, high suicide rates and more. Your year-end gift to Lutheran Indian Ministries helps us to expand our ministry and share the Gospel with more Native communities in need.


* The Hawaiian word for teacher is kumu, which means “the source.”