“I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE” (JOHN 14: 6)
JOHN 14: 1-6
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.’
5 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
6 Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
[Visual Gospel of John: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fXW8ZUdDC8&list=PLCpgggEg1JgogOpSQ795yBb5486QRlVFH&index=15&t=0s ]
This is Jesus’ “farewell address” – given to the disciples at the Last Supper. In a very short while He shall be crucified, will die, and on the third day will miraculously arise from the dead. He wants to prepare them for all that is going to happen. He wants them to know and understand things that they are going to be tasked to pass-down to all who follow after.
Jesus has been telling His disciples that He is going to die, and then be resurrected, and is going to be returning to His Father in Heaven. He is reassuring these frightened men that He will be preparing a place in Heaven for them and that He is going to bring them into Heaven to be with Him for eternity. But, to the disciples this is all so new and so confusing – they do not understand either where Jesus is going or how they are going to get there with Him. He now answers them with this next “I AM” declaration of who He is.
JESUS IS THE “LIFE”
Now, we have already explored this – when we looked at the declaration of Jesus that “I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11: 25).
Jesus is the One who has given LIFE to all the world; Jesus is the One who gives us fulfilling LIFE right now; Jesus is the One who gives us LIFE forevermore, in Heaven, for eternity – through a RELATIONSHIP with Him rather than through seeking to follow rules.
Now He tells us that He is the WAY to this LIFE….how are we to understand this?
“I AM THE WAY…”
Let’s just say it again – Jesus said that He was “The WAY”…the way to what? The context makes it clear that He is saying that He is the way to Father God and to Eternal Life, to Heaven, to a life in Paradise forevermore. But, how can this be?
Here is a typical, child-friendly, explanation of this declaration by Jesus:
There was a time when a person going on a trip wouldn’t think of beginning their journey without a road map.The map was very helpful to the traveller in finding the way to where they were going. Today we seldom ever use a road map. Do you know why? Most of us who own a car also have a GPS in our car. How does the GPS work? When you are ready to go somewhere, you type in the address where you want to go and the GPS connects to a satellite up above the earth and computes the path to your destination. As soon as you start driving, a map appears on the screen and a voice from the GPS gives you turn by turn directions. “Turn right on Main Street in one mile, turn right in one half mile, turn right in 150 feet, turn right.” What happens if you miss your turn? The GPS says, “Recalculating” and immediately computes a new route to get you back on the right path to your destination.
When we are trying to follow Jesus in our daily life, it would be nice to have a GPS to lead us in the right direction, wouldn’t it? It would be nice to have something to keep us on the right path and keep us from getting lost…something that would help us get back on the right track when we made a wrong decision.
That is the way Jesus’ disciples must have felt when Jesus told them that he was going to leave them. Jesus said to them, “I am going to prepare a place for you and when everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with me. You know the way to where I am going.”…
One of the disciples whose name was Thomas answered Jesus, “No, we don’t, Lord. We don’t even know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”…
That was all the disciples needed to know to get them on the right path to the Father.
So, how do you and I find our way to the place where Jesus has gone to be with the Father? We have not seen Jesus as Thomas and Philip had, but we can follow the teachings that he has given to us in the Bible — God’s Holy Word. That is our GPS and it will keep us on the right path! (with thanks to “Sermons 4 Kids”)
Now, this “map/GPS” explanation of Jesus being the “Way” to heaven is essentially very good.
However…it still leaves the suggestion that if we LIVE right – obeying the lifestyle as outlined in Scripture – that we will “get there”.
I have to stress again that the KEY is RELATIONSHIP. Jesus – a person and not a set of instructions – is the WAY to Heaven when we not only FOLLOW Him (His teachings) but when we WALK with Him – in an intimate relationship. We do this by spending time with Him in prayer and adoration – as well as in service and obedience. BOTH are important. Remember the “rich young ruler” – to whom Jesus felt great love – who asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. This young man was able to demonstrate living by the rules (the “map book”) but Jesus clearly told him that he lacked one thing – and that was to let go of all that he held dear in this life and to just “follow” Him (Mark 10: 17-31) – the RELATIONSHIP.
Maybe you could see it like this: When a child (and, spiritually, we are little children) wants to know the way to the Park their father could give them directions. But, how much better it is – how much more secure and happy they feel – when their father takes them by the hand and leads them there himself. This is what Jesus is trying to get across to us.
One last thing: The disciples came to see this declaration by Jesus as being SO significant that the early church was often referred to as followers of “The Way” – so when Saul (later Paul) went to root out those who were Christians he went to arrest those who “belonged to the Way” (Acts 9: 2) and Paul later confesses to being a “follower of the Way” (Acts 24: 14)
“I AM…THE TRUTH…”
When a person tells you a thing, it is either the truth, or a lie, or a perception (different people see the same thing in a different way).
People today tend to believe that the “truth” is very much what you want it to be – based on your feelings and what you want to have. People will say “well, it’s true for me!” We DON’T believe this. We believe in ABSOLUTE Truth – that something is either right or wrong – all other views are deceptions. That is why we are warned in Proverbs 14: 12
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death”
Then there is “truth” that is forced upon us – by the state saying “I will tell you what is true and right”. Was this not what Pilate was saying when he declared “What is truth?” (John 18: 38).
Jesus, here, is firstly declaring that there IS truth – absolute Truth- but more than this…
So, here, Jesus is telling them about the way to get to Heaven. And He makes it very clear: there is no lie here, no “well, it’s how you view it” here. Whatever Jesus says is true – absolutely true – with no other way to “see it”. So, he is not just someone who tells the truth…most of the time…He is TRUTH made flesh.
This is why the Word of God – Scripture – the Bible – is SO important. The Bible tells us the things that Jesus has said – and by the reading of it we will therefore know the TRUTH as we listen to Him and follow Him.
He is saying, in effect, “You all want to get to Paradise and live there with me forever. Well, I am telling you that if you follow me, then you are following the Way to Heaven. And you KNOW that you can trust and believe that what I am saying to you is true because not only do I ALWAYS tell the truth but I am the whole, absolute Truth in fleshly form!” And He is also inferring that “if anyone tells you any different; if anyone tells you that there is another way to obtain eternal life in Paradise; then they are lying and are a liar”.
CONCLUSION AND CHALLENGE
Jesus could not have made it more-simple for His disciples (of whom you and I are one):
“Know me and believe in me and you will have LIFE forevermore – though you die physically, you will live in Paradise with me for eternity. This is what you want – and this is what I want. To do this just FOLLOW me – get to know me intimately, talk with me, listen to me, do the things that I do and say the things that I say – for I AM the WAY to Heaven. And you can believe completely that what I am telling you is true because I always speak the Truth because I am literally the TRUTH made flesh”.
WOW! What a privilege!
I have three challenges from this:
- The first is to just glorify His Name! Be in awe of His being “the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE”. Thank Him for this constantly. May the knowledge of this bring you ever more to a place of worshipping Him.
- Jesus continually talks to the disciples about Heaven – as the spiritual abode from which He has come and the wonderful home to which He is returning and which He is preparing for us. It is often true that people only think of the after-life – of heaven – when somebody close to them dies. The challenge is that maybe it would do us good to think about our eternal home EVERY DAY – to long for it, and to prepare for it.
- The third challenge is to respond to His declaration. Have you noticed the very important little word “THE” that comes before each declaration? He is THE ONLY way, the ONLY truth and the ONLY source of life. There is NO OTHER. Have YOU chosen to FOLLOW Him? Have YOU chosen to trust in the TRUTH that He is the only WAY for you to find peace now and LIFE forevermore? If not…why not change this now?