The Way, The Truth, The Life
1. Today we are being given the words of Christ from the Gospel According To John, chapter fourteen and verse six. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." We have heard some really astonishing words, which have never been said by anyone before or ever will. He was not only just showing the way. He says, "I am the way." He did not only just give the truth. He says, "I am the truth." He did not only guide us to life. He says, "I am the life." We want to remember these words, ponder them, and think together about what [his words] mean.
I Am The Way
2. Christ said, "I am the way." A way or a path leads to somewhere. A path guides a person somewhere. That's what paths are and do. When Christ said, "I am the way," the way [he is talking about] leads to somewhere. "Unless one comes through me, no one can go to my father," said the Lord. In this way then, we see that the way refers to the path that guides one to God the Father.
3. Why is Jesus speaking here about the way that leads to his "father?" It is because Jesus himself was about to go back to his father. Please look at chapter thirteen and verse one. It says the following there, "So, it was before the Passover and Jesus sensed that his time had come to move from this world back to his father, and he loved his disciples in this passing world, and he loved them with a love that could be no greater," (13:1).
4. The situation surrounding Jesus had grown tense. Both the Lord himself and his disciples knew quite well that the Jews hated Jesus and were ready to kill him. However, even knowing this, Jesus headed for Jerusalem and his disciples followed him [there]. Jesus had already once before spoken to his disciples about his suffering and death. That was hard for the disciples to believe and they didn't want to believe it [either]. But, at last that hour had come. With the time of his death just before him, the Lord wished to have a final meal with his beloved disciples. That's the setting [for our scripture passage here].
5. But, Christ wasn't just facing suffering and death. The eyes of the Lord were cast on the opposite side of his cross death. God the Father was on the opposite side of it. To Jesus, the cross death was nothing but "the hour for him to move from this world to the father." Therefore, the Lord calmly spoke to his anxiety ridden and fear trembling disciples like this: "Do not let your hearts be disturbed. Believe in God. And believe in me, too. There are many dwelling places in my father's house. If there weren't, would I have told you that I was going to prepare places for you? Since I am going and preparing places for you, I will return, and greet you in where I am. Thus, you will be in the place where I will be. Do you know the way where I am going?," (14:1-3).
6. Jesus was about to go back to his father. But, there was more than just a place for Jesus with the father. The Lord says that he was going to prepare places for the disciples. Therefore, the disciples, too, would be welcomed in by the father. The disciples would be welcomed by Jesus and would be together where the Lord was.
7. So then, the Lord said, "You know" the way that leads to the father. Of course, the disciples didn't even imagine in their dreams that they knew the way. So, Thomas asks, "How can we know the way?" But, they already did know the way. -- Because the way was always right there with them and the way was actually right there in front of their eyes. It was. Jesus said, "I am the way" to Thomas and the other disciples.
8. During this sequence of statements from the Lord, we will have to re-think things. The Lord said, "I am going to prepare places for you." In other words, that means that the places for his disciples had not been there from the beginning, but that they would have places started for them since Jesus will be preparing them. Many think that when you consider your relationship with God, it is appropriate and automatic that you have a place with God. They think it is automatic that you are accepted by God. But, that's not what the Bible says. We do not by nature have places with God.
9. So, the Lord spoke regarding "the way" to go to the father. To go to the father, a certain particular path is necessary. This matter of a person being able to go to the father is not obvious at all. It's not just that we don't have a place with the father. We can't even go. We by all means need the set path to go [to get there].
10. Why's that? -- Because we are different from Christ. As the one sent from the father, Christ executed the perfect will of the father in full. There was no sin in Christ. Because Christ was like that, it was clear to him how to go back to the father after finishing his mission. It was every bit appropriate for him that he had a place with the father. Thus, dying on the cross [to him] was tantamount to being transferred to be with his father, God. But, for us it's different. We're not sinless. God the Father is a holy being. There is no place for sinners standing as they are next to such a holy Father God. We cannot even come close to God the Father.
11. But, somebody might say, "Aren't there righteous people in the world? Aren't there good people out there?" When we state that everyone has sin in him or her, there is always somebody who makes that counter claim. But, stating this general argument here does not have much meaning to it. The main thing is about you and about me. Setting aside the argument about others being righteous, what about you? When you think of yourself, can you make the claim that that you deserve to have a place of your own with the father? Can you claim that you have every right to be able to go to the father? Since we can't on our own, we will only [do so] by having a place prepared for us by Christ and by being welcomed in by Christ. We only go to the father through the way of Christ, don't we?
12. Christ said he was going to prepare a place. To do that, he had to go so far as through a death on the cross. Put in other words, by Christ's being crucified and by his becoming a sin atoning sacrifice, he prepared a place for us. Wait, and more than just his preparing a place for us, Christ became the way that we go through to get there, [which he did] by becoming the sacrifice for the atoning of our sins. Since we could not draw near to God because of our sin, we only go to God the Father by going through the way of redemption for our sins. Therefore, Jesus said, "Unless one goes through me, no one can go to the father."
I Am the Truth And The Life
13. So that's how Christ himself has become "the way," "the way" that leads to the father does not mean some simple "method" for going to the father, but is a real live person of real character with a real personality. Since that's the case, "the truth" of salvation that we must truly know is not some specific teaching or ideology that we might simply understand and grasp hold of. It is not even "the religion" of Christianity. It's not any "thing" but it is the one man with his worthy character and personality. It is Christ himself, who became the way on our behalf. Because of that, Christ said, "I am the truth."
14. Since the truth is Christ himself, the definition of knowing the truth is also different because we cannot know Christ just like we do in knowing some situation. "Knowing about Christ" and "knowing Christ" are [two totally] different things. To know Christ means a personal relationship with him, it means a personal communication with him. Put in other words, it is "to believe [in him]," "to love [him]," and "to worship [him]." We see that even as we consider this man named Thomas as he appears in this scene here. He is depicted as a skeptical figure. But, in the end he came out as a person who knew Christ in the truest sense. It didn't mean that he knew something about Christ; no, it didn't come out that way, but instead he turned to the risen Christ and as he said, "My Lord, my God," he worshipped the Lord. That's exactly what it means to know Christ and to know the truth.
15. Then the Lord went on to say that "I am the life." "The life" of which he is speaking about here does not mean mere energy and life force. Being able to live life fully with vim and vigor is wonderful. But, in the end that's not important because even a person flowing over with vitality will [eventually] die. Death will most certainly consume even the healthy. No matter what condition a person may find himself or herself in, it doesn't alter the fact that we're all beings "bound ever onward towards mortality." Thus, in order for "life" to be declared in any real sense, death must be conquered.
16. The Lord said, "I am life." There is a perfect conquest of death in [him]. Where ever Christ is, death can no longer have any power. That's because Christ is the one who is preparing a place with the father and he himself is "the way" for us to go to the father. Since Christ is preparing a place for us, we are no longer beings who just go on to death. We're walking on to [be with] the father.
17. Taking it further, a relationship with God the Father is not first given to us on the other side of the grave. Jesus showed us a relationship full of love and trust for God the Father while on this earth. Christ showed us real life indeed in his relationship with God the Father. Christ, who said, "I am the life," invites us to a relationship of life with the father.
18. Thus then, Christ stated that "I am the way, the truth, and the life." As we've already seen, all of our salvation lies right there in Him. Christ has met with us. We want to know Him even more deeply and we want to remain in a living relationship with Christ.