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The Way, the Truth and the Life

a forest with sun shining through the trees and the words "I AM the way, the truth, and the life" overlayed

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 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? 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NIV)

Jesus is with His disciples in the upper room on the night of His arrest. They are celebrating the Passover seder, which Jesus has reinterpreted from deliverance from slavery in Egypt to deliverance from sin and death, pointing to the cross where His body will be broken and His blood shed for the redemption of the world. We know, from this side of the cross, that when Jesus tells them He's going somewhere to prepare a place for them, He's talking about going into death. He's speaking of the cross.

The disciples live on the other side of the cross. They do not fully comprehend what is taking place, and so Thomas asks Jesus, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

Thomas is asking more than he knows. How can we know the way? How can human beings know the way to God? Is there more than one way? Can Judaism be the way? Could Islam? Tarot cards? Legalistic obedience to God's revealed commands? (The Pharisees believed that was the way, and legalistic Christians still pursue it.)

Jesus responds with true truth: I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. The Way is not a religion, the Way is a Person. Jesus did not come to show us the way to live so we can earn a place in heaven by being good enough. Nobody can be good enough. In our sin nature, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus came to make the Way to the Father. He is the Way.

The Truth is not something we make up to work out some kind of meaningful life for ourselves. Truth is revealed by God and embodied in His Son, Jesus. The master teacher did not come just to teach us to turn the other cheek and treat others the way we want to be treated. He came to establish Truth. He is the Truth.

We can exist and not really live the Life God has for us. We can spend out lives here on earth and miss Life itself. Jesus did not come to point the way to a good life, or merely to give us a ticket to eternal life. He came to deliver us from sin and death so we can truly live. He is the Life.

Someone put it this way:

No Jesus, no God.

Know Jesus, know God.

Get to know Jesus, and you know His Father. He is the Way, and the Truth and the Life.

From the night I gave my life to Jesus when I was 15 years old till now, I have sought to know Jesus Christ and walk with Him. I wish I could say I have done it perfectly and the chart of my spiritual life is a line moving steadily upward as it moves right. Truth is, my life in Christ looks more like the chart of the Dow Jones industrial average, with ups and downs and peaks and valleys. And through it all, Jesus has walked with me. He has given grace. He has blessed beyond measure. And He has taken my efforts to serve Him and multiplied them far beyond my talents and abilities for His Kingdom.

One final thing about John 14:6: Jesus makes an audacious claim at the end. He does not simply claim to be a way, to have some truth and to give us a happier life. He dares to say He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and then adds, " one comes to the Father except through me."

When some hear Jesus say this, they hear exclusion. They say that the Bible, and Christians who believe it, are defining who is in and who is out. I don't hear Jesus in that tone. I don't understand "I am the Way and there is no other" to condemn those who do not follow Jesus to hell. We are condemned already, according to Jesus.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV)

Jesus did not come to condemn. Our sin has already condemned us. Jesus came to save. He came to rescue us from sin and death. When He says, " one comes to the Father except through me" He is not saying it with a "take it or leave it" kind of heart. It is more in a "come to Me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" kind of heart (Matthew 11:28). Jesus is saying to all of us who trust in religion, who trust in ourselves, who trust in anything else but Him, "Come to me. The Way to Truth and Life is right here. Don't miss it."

The world can spend and be spent in pursuing happiness and wealth and pleasure. I will spend and be spent in pursuing Jesus and His will for my life. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Ultimately, all other ways lead to despair. All other "truth" is a foundation of sand. All other life is fleeting and meaningless. Don't miss the Way by going your own way. Don't settle for truth that is not truly Truth. Don't invest in life that does not give Life. All of it is found in Jesus.


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