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)
Before the term “Christianity” was first coined in Syrian Antioch, our faith was originally called “the Way” (see the book of Acts). So we cannot underestimate the importance of this saying of Jesus (this week’s Fighter Verse) to His first followers.
Jesus’ disciples were troubled. They were disturbed, unsettled, and confused. After all, He had just told them that even the boldest of His disciples (Peter) could not follow Him where He was going (John 13:33 – 38). He had finished His last supper with them, and He was about to go to the cross, leaving his precious friends and followers behind. But Jesus spoke into the storms swirling around their hearts: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” (14:1). He urged them to trust the Father and to trust Him, and comforted them with the truth that He was preparing a room for them in His Father’s house, and one day He would bring them there (vv. 1 – 3). “‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (vv. 3 – 4) That’s why Jesus makes this profound statement: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. There are so many amazing truths packed into this short verse… here are a few thoughts on some of the main points:
(1) Jesus is Yahweh. In the context, Jesus emphasizes his connection with the Father. But not only is Jesus in the family of God, but He IS God. He says “I AM the way, the truth, and the life.” In the original language, He was quoting what He said to Moses in the burning bush. When Moses asked for God’s Name, He replied, “I AM WHO I AM . . . Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14) So here as recorded in the book of John, Jesus is declaring unambiguously that He is Yahweh, the God beyond all space and time and yet intimately with us. Indeed, Jesus goes on to say just a few verses later, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?” (vv. 9 – 10)
(2) Jesus is the Way. Jesus is our mediator who connects us to God. Throughout the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day, ordinary people sought invitations to the grand houses of important men (from the emperor to the town mayor) — and interestingly, these “important men” were often referred to as the fathers. People sought what they called “grace” from these fathers, and in return they would offer what they called “glory.” And no one in the empire was anywhere near as important as THE Father Himself — the Lord God of the earth and the whole universe. His house is the grandest of all houses. But Jesus tells them that He will make room in that house for them. And so Thomas cries out, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (v. 5) And Philip asks, “Lord, show us the Father.” (v. 8) They wanted to behold the glorious Father of Heaven, yet in their culture, people believed that if you had no connection to a great house but you wanted to establish a relationship there, you needed a go-between — which they called a “mediator.” Jesus declares that He is that mediator (“I am the way…”). He is the only mediator (“No one comes to the Father except through Me.”). No one else is in His family and so has the right to invite a stranger in. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. And He gives us such access to the Father that we are invited to stay in the Father’s house in one of its many rooms. Jesus is offering to take us to live with His Dad! What had been an exclusive family — Father, Son, and Spirit — now becomes a vast family spanning the globe. That family was called “the Way” before it was called “Christianity;” in other words, Jesus is not ONLY our point of access to God, but He is our absolute focus. Our patterns of desire, belief, thought, action, habit, and emotion line up with Jesus’ desires, beliefs, thoughts, actions, habits, and emotions; we “personify” Jesus and manifest His rule through our lives.
(3) Jesus is the Truth. Jesus doesn’t just tell the truth — He is the Truth. In this way He manifests the glory of God. “We have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The glory of God isn’t so much “shiny bright light” as it is “grace and truth.” Therefore we know God by knowing Jesus and submitting to His reign over our lives. As the Truth, He sets us free (John 8:32).
(4) Jesus is the Life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) He gives us abundant life by connecting us (again, He is the “way” or the “road” to God) to the source of all life — to the One who is Most Alive, the Creator of all that is Good and Alive. “And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3) To be truly, fully alive is to know Jesus.
QUESTIONS TO ASK EACH OTHER:
(1) How does the realization that Jesus is Yahweh impact our lives?
(2) Think of an example from the past week where Jesus connected you to the Father. What was that like?
(3) What is a way in the past week that you’ve been able to “embody” Jesus?
(4) When we face lies and temptations, how do we connect to Jesus as the Truth and not just to lower case “truth?”
(5) What’s an area in your life when you feel “dead” or numb right now? What would it look like for you to tap into the life of Jesus in you? How could you apply that truth to the area in your life that you just mentioned?