We are nearing the end of our look at the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus in John’s gospel. To date, we have seen Jesus as the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate to the sheepfold, the good shepherd, and the resurrection and the life! This week, he is the way, the truth, and the life.
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
The disciple, Thomas, is an interesting study. He can say the most amazing and insightful things. For example, in John 20:28, Thomas exclaims outright, “My Lord, and my God!” showing tremendous insight into the identity of Jesus. None of the other disciples had said that. Thomas can also say some ill-advised things, and we will see one of those in a moment.
John fourteen is a tremendously comforting passage, one often used to provide that comfort at funerals, or in consoling family members or friends who have lost a loved one. It is there that Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” and he speaks of preparing a place for us in the house of his father, a house with many rooms. Having created us a place, Jesus said he will return to take us to himself so that we can be together.
Then Jesus says this:
And you know the way to where I am going. – John 14:4, ESV
The first four words from Thomas here are, without question, not the four words you say to Jesus in response to such a statement. “Lord, we don’t know . . .”
When Jesus says we know, we know! We don’t respond to Jesus’ saying we know by telling him he’s mistaken, and that we don’t know. I suspect Thomas simply gave voice to what the others thought but chose not to say.
The truly comforting aspect of what Jesus said (and to which Thomas objected) is that not only did/does Thomas know, and the other disciples know, but you know and I know. We know the way to where Jesus was going and has gone.
The Key Exchange
“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.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:3–6, ESV
Jesus has laid down a claim of exclusivity unparalleled in time. Jesus said not that he is a way, one way to the Father. Jesus said with a clarion call that he is THE way. There is none other.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12, NIV-1978
Jesus did not offer to show us the way, or to tell us about the way. Jesus said boldly and bluntly, I AM the way. I AM the truth. I AM the life. You want access to the Father? I am the door, the gate to the sheepfold. I am the narrow way. No one, absolutely no one comes to the Father but through me.
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, – 1 Timothy 2:5, NASB
Snobbish? Or Humble?
Such exclusive claims tend to make people nervous and cause them to view Christianity as very narrow-minded in its exclusivity. Not so. It is just very precise!
This is not about religious snobbery or spiritual one-upmanship. This is about humanity’s complete inability to resolve our sin problem outside of the shed blood of Jesus. It is the humility to recognize that we can do nothing to rectify our condition and save ourselves. It is Jesus or nothing.
Jesus will mediate our case before the Father as the only one qualified to stand between humanity and deity. He is not a mediator. He is THE mediator. The word μεσΐτης (mesiteis) is applied to Jesus here and in Hebrews 8:6 and 9:15. The only other time it is used is in Galatians 3:19-20 where it describes Moses mediating between God and Israel.
This is why the apostle Paul can say with confidence, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13, ESV). The name of the Lord! Not the name of Buddha. Not the name of Trump. Not the name of Allah. Not the name of Bill Gates. Not the name of Rush Limbaugh. Not the name of Mohammed.
Take a Knee
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11, ESV
Listen, my friends, that is all of us. I will bow the knee to Jesus. You will bow the knee. Lady Gaga will bow the knee. Joel Osteen will bow the knee. Colin Kaepernick will bow the knee. Beyonce will bow the knee. It’s not a matter of if, but of when. Many of us will bow the knee and confess the lordship gladly and reverently. Others will do so in great fear and trembling. But every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess.
When Jesus says he is the way, Jesus means he is THE way – no other. If that is of comfort to you, then bless you. If it is offensive, so be it. It is nonetheless true. The beauty of it is that now we know. There are no questions left unanswered. We can choose to follow Jesus, to walk with him as Lord, or we can rebel against him and try to make our own way.