I Am the Way

March 11, 2007 / No. 3349

Dear radio friends,

As we continue our series on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospel According to John, we come today to John 14:6, where we read:  “Jesus saith unto him (that is,unto Philip), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

     Now, again, it is important to understand the context in which our Lord makes this wonderful statement about Himself:  “I am the way.”  He has been telling His disciples that He will soon go away from them and return to the Father.  It is spoken at a tender moment, the night of His betrayal, after they had just celebrated, in the intimacy of the upper room, the first Lord’s Supper.  The disciples seemed to be clinging to Him and sensing that something momentous is about to happen, and that, through this, He was going to be taken away from them.

     He says to them in chapter 13:33, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you.  Ye shall seek me:  and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.”  Peter asked Him immediately, “Where are you going?”  And Jesus repeats (v. 36), “Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.”  Peter responds and says to Him, “Well, it doesn’t matter where you go.  I want to be with you.  I’m never going to forsake you.  I’m going to lay down my life for you.  I’ll never forsake you.”  And Jesus responds with the shocking and searching words of verse 38:  “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”

     Then we begin, in John 14, the words of wonderful comfort.  Jesus knew the state of their hearts.  He knew that they wanted to be with Him.  He knew that they were afraid that He was going to be taken from them.  Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled:  ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions:  if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  Jesus says, “Don’t be troubled.  No matter how dark is the way, no matter how great is your fear.  I am going to the Father’s house through the cross.  And if I go there, I go to prepare a place for you.  And I will return.”

     And then He says, almost prompting them to bring a question:  “And where I go, ye know, and the way ye know.”  It is Thomas who responds and says, “Lord, we know not where you are going.  And how can we know the way?”  Jesus responds:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  I am going to the Father.  You know where I am going.  I am the forerunner of your salvation.  I am opening the path to life eternal, to the presence of God.  You know where I am going.  And you know the way.  I am the way.”  How beautiful and how precious!

     So Jesus is the way.  “I am the way.”  And we say, “the way where?”  The answer is plain:  “Heaven.  Perfect fellowship with God.”  Jesus is the way to the heart of God, to home.  And home is heaven, where we enjoy perfect life and fellowship with God.  That is home.  Not here.  This world is not our home.  Heaven is our home.

     What is so desirable about that?  Why is it so desirable that Jesus is the way to heaven, to the Father?  Well, if you have been brought by God’s grace to know God and been brought close to God’s heart; and if you are made an heir of life eternal, then you can answer that.  What is so desirable?  Well, that is everything.  And, without it, there is nothing but darkness and sin and hell and despair.  Father’s house, the presence of God—why, it is the place of beauty and splendor.  You may read of it in the book of God, the Bible.  The book of Revelation tells us that it has streets of gold and gates of pearl; it is a city of light.  And we come before the throne of God, which is surrounded by a sea of crystal.  It is a place of infinite, glorious beauty.  It is befitting God.

     But if you ask, “What makes heaven so beautiful?” then I answer you:  “What is beautiful about heaven is not so much the external, although that is breathtaking—something that eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, and that has not even entered into your imagination to conceive of what it shall be, that is what the Bible says.  But, my point right now is that it is not just the external beauties of heaven that make heaven beautiful.  But what makes heaven heaven is God!  The Father is there.  We shall see Him as He is in Jesus.

     Jesus says heaven is our home.  Jesus says that heaven is a beautiful home.  What makes your home beautiful?  How do you make your home attractive?  Your children are going to leave your home soon.  Have you made your home warm and attractive for them?  How do you do that?  You do not do that with a new house.  You do not do that with the furnishings.  You do not do that with the square footage that you are able to afford.  That does not make the home beautiful.  What does make the home beautiful?  Dad and Mom live there in love—that is what makes the home beautiful.  That is what makes the home rich.  That is what makes the home a treasure.  That brings the tears with your memories.  Dad and Mom are there and they love each other.  You see, it is because of who is there and the love that they have.  That is what makes a home a home.

     That is true also of heaven.  What makes heaven heaven?  The gold and the silver?  No, this.  The Father of all mercies, the God of all grace and comfort, is there.  He is there, and that is what makes heaven heaven.  In heaven we shall be with Him.  In heaven we shall have fellowship with God.  Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.  If it were not so, I would have told you.”  We will go there with all the elect of God.  And we shall stand before God in His great mansion of glory and have perfect fellowship with God.

     Do not think that we shall have our separate room with keys—that we shall all be separated.  No, Jesus means that there will be room for all of God’s people.  There will be no division.  There will be no strife, no gossip, no sin.  But we shall stand before the Father and we shall have fellowship near to God’s heart and near to one another.

     Jesus, now, says, “I am the way.  I am the way to heaven.  I am the way to God’s heart.  I am the way to life eternal.”  In other words, you and I cannot get there of ourselves.  You and I do not belong there of ourselves.  You and I do not want to go there of ourselves.  Jesus is the way.

     Remember the context.  Jesus is saying, “I must go away from you.  I must go the way of the cross.  And it is exactly that I go the way of the cross, the way of suffering and death upon a cross, and leave an empty tomb—the resurrection.  It is exactly in this way that I am the way.  I am the way because I am the Savior, the One who opens the way for you.  I open the way for you through the cross.

     Jesus went away.  He went into heaven.  And, as I said, we cannot go there.  We cannot go to heaven and we have no right to go there.  And, as I said, we do not desire to go there.  That says a whole lot about us.  When Jesus says, “I am the way,” He is saying a whole lot about you and about me.  He is saying, “By nature you do not belong in my Father’s house.  By nature, you are not God’s children.  By nature, you cannot earn your way there.  By nature, you do not want to go there, but if you could, you would tear it down.  By nature, you are darkness and I am light.  If you are to go there, you need Me.  You need Me to make the way.  You need Me to put you on the way.  You need Me to take you on the way.  You need Me to bring you there.  I am the way, the truth, and the life.  By Me,” He says.  “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

     He is the way, first of all, because He is the “I am.”  “I am the way.”  And when Jesus says, “I am,” as we have seen before, He unashamedly declares He is deity.  He unashamedly declares that He is God of God, God’s eternal Son, blessed of the Father.  And He is the way to the Father because He is the Son of God.  He is the eternal Son, second person of the Trinity, who dwells within the bosom of the Father and who declares the Father unto us.

     Of course He is the way.  He knows the heart of God.  He dwells eternally with God as the second person of the Trinity.  Of course He is the way.  He is the One who of the Father’s mercy has come down and has taken upon Himself our flesh in order that He might bring us to the Father.  He is the way because He is the eternal Son of God who, through the incarnation and through the cross, has brought us to the presence of God.  That is the Christian message.  When you go to heaven you do not pass through layers of cloud.  You go to heaven because you have passed through the blood of Jesus Christ, the One who came down from heaven in order that we might be taken to heaven with Him.

     But how is He the way?  He is the way because He is the truth and the life.  I do not believe that these three are parallel.  No, I think that Jesus means, “I am the way because I am the truth and the life.”  Truth is reality.  Truth is verity.  Truth is that which is real.  “I am the way because I am the truth.  I am reality.  I have seen the Father.  I have come down from the Father.  I know the way of atonement.  I know the truth.  I know the justice of God.  I know the reality of your sin.  I am real and I am true.  I know all the truth of God.  And, therefore, as the truth I am the way.”

     Do you want to know the truth?  Do you want to know the truth about what God thinks about you?  Do you want to know the truth about what God says about you?  Do you want to know the truth about how you stand before God?  Well, you have to go to Jesus.  He is the truth.  This is what Jesus says, by grace, to all of the elect:  “God says eternally, I have loved you, unworthy sinner, and by grace I have made you spotlessly righteous in the work of My Son Jesus Christ.”  Look to Jesus.  He is the truth.  Do not listen to yourself.  Listen to Jesus.  He is the truth.

     When I say, “Look to Jesus,” I do not mean physically.  Do not look at a picture of Him.  There is no picture of Him.  I mean by faith, as He is seen in your Bible and as He is preached to you in a faithful church.  See Him by faith.  See Him born in the flesh and wrapped in rags and laid in a feedbox in the stench of a barn.  Why?  Do you see what is going on?  He is telling you the truth about yourself and your sin and your unworthiness.  See Him bear your iniquity and obliterate your sins upon the cross, taking upon Himself the wrath of God that you deserve.  He is the truth.  He is showing you the truth.  This is the way whereby your sins can be removed.  See Him do all of this willingly for you, and you will see the truth about God.  God is gracious.  God is merciful.  God has so loved us that He gave His Son, that we might go home with Jesus and be with Him.

     “I am the way, because I am the truth.  And I am the way because I am the life.  I am the living way.”  You see, we need much more than just to know that Jesus is the way.  We need more than just being absolutely convinced that Jesus is the way.  We need to be able to go on that way.  And we can only go on that way because Jesus is the life.  I do not have that life.  I do not have that strength.  I cannot walk.  I cannot move.  Of myself I am a dead sinner.  But Jesus is the way because He is the life.  He gives life.  By His grace He imparts strength.  He makes us alive.  He is life in us.  Therefore, Jesus is the way, for He is true and living and powerful God.

     No man can come to the Father, but by Me, said Jesus.  Jesus said, “I am not a way, a truth.  I am not a possibility.  I am not a life.  No, I am the way, the truth, the life.  There is no other way.”  There are many ways to hell.  There is one way to heaven:  Jesus.

     Do not let anyone tell you that the gospel is not offensive.  It is offensive.  You do not need to make it offensive.  You do not need to become offensive.  You must not hold the gospel in your arrogant pride.  You do not need to be offensive.  But the gospel itself is offensive at the very heart of the matter.  It is offensive to our sinful pride, for Jesus says, “All other ways are false.”

     You will not be saved through sincerity in your religious belief.  You will not be saved simply because you are sincere in what you believe.  You will go to hell if all you are is sincere in your religious beliefs.  You will not go to heaven because you are a nice guy.  You will not go to heaven because you voted on the right side or you are part of the moral majority or you are a good guy or a decent neighbor or anything like that.  No, Jesus is the way, the only way.  He is the truth and the life.  You cannot make it apart from Jesus, apart from the wonderful gift of God’s grace whereby you are made to belong to Him in time and eternity.

     Jesus is the way.  Hear the gospel.  Hear the very words of the Son of God:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  By Him we may, we can, and we do enter into the fellowship of God and are assured of life eternal.  Through Him we can and do draw near to the heart of God and have fellowship with God and with one another.

     So Jesus speaks to us, “Little children, come home.  Come out of a weary world of sin and death and confusion.  Come, rest in the Father’s love.  Come, feast your soul upon the prospect that one day we shall be in the mansions of the Father.”  Come, come by Jesus; come through Jesus, and hear the most glorious words that you could ever hear:  the words that Jesus speaks because He is the way to the Father.  He speaks these words:  “Welcome.  Sit down.  You are Mine.  I have shed My blood for you.  I have taken you into the embrace of God, the eternal embrace of God.  I will never cast you out.”

     Let us pray.

     Father, we thank Thee for Thy Word.  We pray again that it may enter into our hearts with all of its beauty, all of its truth, all of its richness, and that by faith, Thy gift, we may embrace Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life—the way whereby we are brought unto the Father, through Jesus, and whereby we have life eternal.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.