I AM…The Way, the Truth, and the Life
“Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
John 14:5-6 NASB1995
The sixth “I AM” statement is one of the most profound statements that Jesus made during His ministry on Earth. Jesus is at the Passover supper with His disciples on the night he was arrested. He has washed the disciples’ feet, talked about a traitor in their midst, and told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times later that night. He then speaks words of comfort to the disciples about not letting their hearts be troubled and that He is going to prepare a place for them. Thomas responds with this question. After all this time walking with Jesus and hearing His words, His disciples are still blind to the truth, so Jesus makes this exclusionary statement. He IS the way, the truth, and the life. Belief in Him is the only way into God’s presence and eternal life.
In researching sermons and commentaries, I came across one from Pastor Brian Bill in the Precept Austin collection. Here are some excerpts from this superb sermon done in 2016, with a short comment by me between the passages. Brian Bill is the Senior Pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church in Illinois and runs a ministry known as “Keep Believing”.
1. Jesus is the way. Jesus is categorically stating that only one way is right and every other way is wrong. Jesus does not merely show the way; He is Himself the way. This has a twofold meaning. He is the way from God to us and also the way from us to God. The only way to get to God is through Jesus.
If I believe the Bible, I must say that Jesus is the only way.
Incidentally, the fact that Jesus is the only way was so central to the understanding of early Christianity in the Book of Acts, that believers were known as being part of “the way.” It’s one of the earliest names given to the Christian community, used six different times in Acts.
The way to heaven is not through a religious system or by following a set of religious rituals. It’s not within you and it’s not by your sincere efforts. Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
In Mark 12:14, we read that even the enemies knew that Jesus was the only way to the Father when they said: “you truly teach the way of God.”
Good deeds and trying hard do not get us on the path. Religious rituals do not get us on the path. The Way is not found by hiking across Spain to a cathedral. Belief in Jesus gets us on the narrow path.
2. Jesus is the truth. The word “truth” in Scripture is used in two ways: true as contrasted with false, and genuine as opposed to fake. Jesus is authentic and trustworthy. When we look at Jesus we come face-to-face with certainty and reality. The Bible describes truth as not just something that is simply intellectual; it also has a moral dimension to it. John 3:21 refers to doing the truth: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…”
Truth is the scarcest commodity in the world. We hear people say, “that might be true for you, but it’s not for me.” Researcher George Barna has discovered that nearly 75% of Americans do NOT believe in absolute truth. Here’s the sad part about that. Without the clarity and consistency of absolute moral truth, we are reduced to doing what seems right, what feels good, what produces the least resistance, and what provides the greatest personal fulfillment.
Listen. It’s not mean or bigoted or narrow minded to say that Jesus is the only way if it’s the truth. It would be mean and bigoted and narrow minded to not tell people that Jesus is the only way and the only truth and the only life!
Jesus rises above our cultural confusion and shouts out, “I am the truth. Get to know me and you will discover that which is totally true and transforming.” Truth is a very exclusive thing because it implies an objective standard. It is not something that changes with the whims of emotion or time or culture. What was true 100 years ago is true this year because, as Hebrews 13:8states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Friend, if you’re searching for truth, ask your questions. Research the relevance of the Bible. Seek after truth. Winston Churchill once said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
Do you remember that scene from “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth?” Can you handle the truth? Don’t run away when it’s right in front of you. Pilate voiced the question on many minds today. Even though Jesus was standing right in front of Him, he queried in John 18:38: “What is truth?” He didn’t take the time to find out. Friend, you will find what you’re looking for in Christ as John 8:32 declares: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Eternal Truth is fast disappearing in this day and age. I opt to believe in the Eternal Truth of Jesus as Savior rather than worry about what other people think or the culture demands.
3. Jesus is the life. All through the gospel of John life describes the principle of spiritual vitality. Just as spiritual death leads to separation from God, so life implies communion with Him. We are dead without Him. We become alive when we surrender ourselves to Him. John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
I like what Albert Mohler writes: “If all we need is a teacher of enlightenment, the Buddha will do. If all we need is a collection of gods for every occasion…Hinduism will do. If all we need is a tribal deity, then any tribal deity will do. If all we need is a lawgiver, Moses will do. If all we need is a set of rules and a way of devotion, Muhammad or Joseph Smith will do. If all we need is inspiration and insight into the sovereign self…Oprah will do. But if we need a Savior, only Jesus will do.”
An abundant life is in the hands of our Lord and Savior. Believe in the Lord as the giver of Life! Without Him, all we have is chaos, darkness, and despair.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus is the Door of the Sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The next devotional will examine the seventh I AM statement, “I am the True Vine”, from John 15.
Photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash