Feb 25, 2016

The Way, the Truth, the Life

John 14:6

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

The "I am" saying of Jesus in today's passage certainly ranks among the most well-known statements of our Lord. Before we look at the statement's meaning, however, it is worth noting that it appears in what has been called Jesus' "Farewell Discourse." Jesus delivered it on the eve of the greatest crisis His disciples would face—His crucifixion. This crisis would pass, but Jesus would also ascend to heaven, departing from them bodily. Christ had to prepare them for the dark days that lay ahead, and He did not do so with a call for them to "man up" or to "just get over it." Instead, He gave them a theology lesson with key practical ramifications.

As part of this theology lesson, Jesus asserted, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). This declaration features three different affirmations that we have already considered in our look at a few of His other "I am" statements. The truth that Jesus is the way to God echoes His claim to be the Door of the Sheep in John 10:7–9. There is only one God and He has only one kingdom with only one entrance—Jesus Christ. Only those who rest in Christ alone for salvation will enter heaven. This message was controversial and offensive to the pluralistic pagan culture of the first-century Roman Empire, and it is perhaps even more so today. If we shrink back from declaring it, however, we are sinning against our neighbors, for what could be a worse transgression against them than to know the only way to eternal life and yet not tell them about it? Moreover, Jesus is not only the sole avenue to life eternal, but He is the source and guarantor of life itself. We come to Him and He gives us life that can never be lost, as He tells us in 11:25–26 and reaffirms in today's passage.

If Jesus' claim to be the Way and the Life were false, it would hardly be a comfort to us or worth hearing. Thus, Jesus' revelation of Himself in John 14:6 as the Truth serves to give us confidence in our Lord. He is the source and standard of truth, the One whose revelation in Scripture and in nature form a sure foundation on which to stand. Since Jesus is the Truth, we are not engaging in wish fulfillment when we believe in Him. Instead, we are receiving divine truth. He is fully trustworthy, and because of this we can trust every word of Scripture, for Jesus affirms that God Himself inspired the prophets and Apostles (Matt. 4:4; 19:3–6). The Scriptures are truth. We know this because the Truth—Jesus Christ—has confirmed them.

Coram Deo

We have many good reasons to receive the Scriptures as trustworthy: archaeological evidence, sound historicity of the biblical books, the testimony of God's people, the splendor of the content, and many more. However, we ultimately receive Scripture as the Word of God because the Holy Spirit speaks in and through Jesus to convince us of God's revelation. If we profess to follow the Truth—Jesus Christ—then we must also follow what He calls the truth—the Bible.

For Further Study