I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life

October 19, 1997 / No. 2859

Dear Radio Listeners,

Today we turn once again to the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is recorded in the Gospel according to John, this time, chapter 14. I would like you to read carefully verses 1-6.

This sixth “I am” statement of Jesus which we consider today is set in one of the most familiar and beautiful portions of God’s Word. Jesus is in the upper room with His disciples on the eve of His death. He has celebrated the last Passover with them and the first Lord’s Supper. The traitor, Judas, has been dismissed, and Jesus is now alone with His faithful disciples. He is explaining to them His soon departure and giving them instruction as to what they are to do when He is gone from them.

As you might imagine, these words filled the disciples with fear and worry and doubt. Their hearts were troubled. That is why Jesus speaks the words of tremendous comfort and encouragement to them. “Let not your heart be troubled.” Part of that comfort and encouragement is what Jesus says in the opening verses of chapter 14. Jesus is going to heaven after His death and resurrection; going to the Father’s house of many mansions. There He will not forget about His disciples, but will prepare a place for each of them. And when that place is ready, He will come and take His own to be with Him forever.

To encourage them further, Jesus says to them in verse 4: “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” But even this they failed to grasp. Thomas speaks for others when he asks: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” They totally missed the point and, therefore, the comfort. But Jesus does not leave them in the dark as to what He meant. He points out to them the way that He was talking about-the way to Father’s house, the way to heaven. He is that way.

When Jesus says that He is the Way, He means that He is the blessed Way to His Father and to the Father’s house of many mansions in heaven. What could be more blessed, listener, than having a way to God the Father and to His house in heaven so that you may come to Him, as a child, and dwell with Him forever? That is what Jesus is talking about when He says, “I am the way.”

God is the triune God. He is the covenant Father, the family God. In His presence is life and blessing, friendship and fellowship. When Jesus speaks of heaven as being the house of His Father, that just adds to the beauty of this. It is the Father’s house because the Father lives there. Heaven is His abode, His eternal resting place. But it is the Father’s house because God has children who are destined to live with Him. To live in the Father’s house is to be His covenant son or daughter and know His love and grace, His protection and care, His friendship and fellowship, and, therefore, safety and security. So, you see, to be able to come to the Father and dwell in His house is the greatest blessing that there is.

Now Jesus declares here in this passage of John 14:6 that He is the Way to this Father and to this heavenly home.

Jesus draws a picture when He says that He is the Way to the Father and to His house. A “way” is literally a “road,” a “traveled path.” Jesus is talking about a road that leads to the Father, a path that takes a traveler to heaven. That is a familiar figure in the Bible. In fact the Bible speaks of really only two roads in life that men can walk on. There is the road that leads to heaven, and there is the road that leads to hell.

Jesus identifies Himself here as that road or path that leads to the Father and to heaven. He does not just show us the way. He is Himself the Way. The road to the Father and to heaven is named, if you will, Jesus. If you are going to be a traveler to heaven, this is the street that you must be on: Jesus.

You understand that Jesus says this as the Savior. We say this because we must remember that, by nature, the way to the Father is closed to us. The road to heaven is shut and barred for us human beings. That is due to the fact that we are fallen in Adam and are become wicked sinners who have lost the way to God and to heaven. When we rebelled against God in Paradise and chose the fellowship of Satan and his house of sin we gave up the Father’s house of fellowship and life. We turned our backs on it and walked away from it. Now, as far as we are concerned, there is no way back to the Father and no way to attain unto life with Him. The road is closed. The path is shut.

But God provided the way for us to come back to Him, back to His covenant house and fellowship. In fact, God even provided a better way than we had in Adam, in Paradise the first. God provided a way for us to live with Him forever in His heavenly mansion. That way is His Son, Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus that the Father opened the road to Himself. It is in Jesus that the Father opened the road to His house above. So the Father calls us, as prodigals, to come home to Him by taking the path called “Jesus.” That is what Jesus is referring to in these words. “I am the way.” He is the saving way back to the Father and to heaven.

But you ask, “How can Jesus be that way? Why is He the road to the Father?”

First of all, because He is the Father’s own eternal Son. Keep in mind again that these “I am” statements are statements of Jesus’ deity. They identify Him as God, equal to the Father. John’s message in His gospel is: Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Who is better qualified, then, to be the way back to the Father than God’s own, only-begotten, and beloved Son? Who is better equipped to be the path to heaven than He who is of heaven and who dwells in heaven, even Jesus.

But, secondly, Jesus is also the way to the Father and to heaven because He became the Son of man. We must not forget what we said about our sinful state. In order to become the way to the Father, Jesus must also enter our world of sin. He must take on our humanity along with the guilt of our sin and suffer the punishment we deserve. To use the figure we have referred to-in order to deliver us from our path of destruction and make a path to heaven for us, Jesus must walk on our path of sin and death and hell. He must go on the road of suffering. And He must do that in perfect love for His Father and for us, so as to obtain the way to the Father and to heaven for us.

And that is exactly what He did. This is the context in which Jesus spoke this. He was on that path at present. And He was about to go farther down it, even the path that would lead to everlasting death on the cross, for His own.

But Jesus is also the Way because, as He says here, He is the Truth and the Life. That is the relationship between these three phrases. These are not three separate expressions, though each of them could stand on its own. But Jesus means that He is the Way because He is the Truth and the Life.

Jesus is the Way because He is the Truth. That means, of course, that He is the true way to the Father and to heaven. He is not a false way, He is not a misleading way. If you believe on Jesus and receive Him as the road, you will come to the Father and you will get to heaven. But when Jesus says He is the Truth, He also means that He is the reality to which all the Old Testament types and shadows pointed. And it means that Jesus is the revelation of all the truth, all the truth that is found in God, because Jesus is God. Jesus is the revelation of the truth about the Father, about heaven. He is the revelation of truth concerning ourselves as sinners, and about the only way of salvation which is found in Him.

Let us not lose sight of the fact today that we need Jesus as the Truth precisely because we are, by nature, lost in the lies of sin. We are on the road of the lie and we are being led by the chief liar, the devil. If Jesus were not the Truth, we could never be delivered from the lie and know the true way to the Father.

Jesus is the Way also because he is the Life. You may remember that we had this in our last “I am” statement as well, when Jesus said that He was the Resurrection and the Life. This means that Jesus is life in Himself because He is the Son of God. He is covenant fellowship because of His blessed relation to His Father. But it also means that Jesus is the power and source of life to sinners who lie in the midst of death, to those who are separated from the Father and who are on the road of death, not life. That is what we are. Our road of sin is the path of death and it leads to everlasting death in hell. But Jesus is the Life, the One in whom life with God is restored, the One in whom everlasting life is found. This He is because He entered our path of death and overcame it. That is why Jesus is the Way, because He is the Truth and the Life. What a blessed way is Jesus!

Do you see the revelation of the Savior again in this beautiful “I am”?

Then, do not let your hearts be troubled by anything that you are facing.

Because we say that Jesus is the Way, we must also emphasize today that Jesus is the exclusive way to the Father and to heaven. There simply is, dear listener, no other way to come to the Father and to enter His heavenly house than the way of Jesus. There is one, and only one, road to the Father. There is one, and only one, path to heaven. That is Jesus! Outside of Jesus Christ there is no way to the Father and no way to the Father’s house. He is the exclusive way to salvation. He is the only Savior.

Jesus Himself makes that plain here. He does not say that He is a way, that is, another way to the Father, but that He is the Way, the one and only Way. So He adds this word too that reinforces that truth: No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

This is important to maintain, first of all, because man has always tried to find other ways to get to the Father and to get to heaven. Man has made up his own roads to God and to eternal life and tried to take them. He has, for example, devised the road of “free-will,” as though he could simply choose to come to the Father and choose eternal life on his own. That is a very popular path in the church-world today. Man has devised the path of good works and self-righteousness. Many would claim this as the road to God and to heaven. Or that road can take the form of the world’s perspective such that just being a good person and being kind and doing good things for people will make God pleased with you and will get you into heaven. There is also the path of the cults and the world’s other religions. The cults deceptively speak of Jesus being the way of salvation. But, in reality, they deny Him as the exclusive way. And the world’s other religions? Well, they claim also to be able to bring you to God and to heaven. But not through Jesus. It might be through Mohammed, or it might be through Buddha, or it might be getting in touch with some spirit of the past. But Jesus, according to them, is not the only way. In the face of this we must insist that Jesus is the exclusive way to the Father, the one and only true road to God and to glory in heaven.

There is another danger that presents itself to us today and which denies the truth of this text. That is the view of pluralism and false ecumenicity that plagues the modern church-world. It has now become popular, even in Christian circles, to speak of Jesus as being only one of many ways to get to God and to heaven. Now, it is said, Jesus is just one way, perhaps the way for Christians, but not the way for everyone else. Others, unbelievers, may come to God and may get to heaven apart from Jesus Christ.

This makes it all the more urgent that we understand and receive the truth of our text. Jesus, emphatically, does not say that He is just another way to the Father, just another road to heaven. He is the one and only Way. No man comes to the Father but by Him. Not just any Christian, but any one,period. There simply is no other way to God and to heaven than the road called “Jesus Christ.”

This is not just the claim of Jesus. It is the teaching of the entire Bible. There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved than Jesus Christ, says Acts 4:12.

And let us not forget that this truth is due to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not just another great teacher or leader, not just another human savior to appear in history. Jesus is the Way because He is the eternal Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, very God of very God. He is the Way because He is the Son of man, the only One who, as God, also became man. The One who alone took on Himself the sins of mankind and suffered and died for them. Jesus is the Way because He alone is the Truth and the Life. Other teachers may claim to have truth and they may claim to give life. But, in reality, they are only liars and only lead in the way of death. Only Jesus is the Truth and the Life.

Jesus is the exclusive Way to the Father.

We must know this for ourselves because Jesus is a narrow way. If you preach this gospel that Jesus is the only way to the Father and to heaven and declare to men the exclusive claims of Christ, many, even most, will find this offensive. Man wants to have his own way of salvation. He wants to make and to walk on his own road to God and to heaven. He does not want to hear of only one way, he does not want to follow the path called “Jesus.” That is because he does not want to hear that he has to be delivered from his way of sin and lying and death through Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So unbelieving man will not take the one way to the Father. He would rather walk through the wide way of unbelief and follow the broad path that leads to destruction.

Yes, there are many who find this way. Very few come to the Father through Jesus. He is the narrow way.

But that does not mean that no man comes to the Father. It does not mean that no one gets to heaven. The Father has His people, chosen in Christ, out of every nation, tribe, and tongue. And these, by His sovereign grace, come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. They come in the way of repentance and faith. They come in the way of knowing Him to be all that He says He is here, and in the way of trusting Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Such were these few Jewish disciples of Jesus in the upper room. Oh, their faith was weak and misguided. That was evident here, too. They come across here as not knowing the meaning of salvation and the way of salvation. But, for all that, they did possess real faith in Jesus Christ. And they did come to the Father through Him. Jesus, knowing this, worked to strengthen that faith here. So we may say, with confidence, that these men of God did arrive at the Father’s house of many mansions through the narrow way of Jesus.

It is that way with all of the elect. They do believe in Christ as the only way. And though their hearts may be troubled by many things, though their faith may be weak and disturbed, yet their trust is in Christ alone. And they walk on the path called “Jesus,” the only path to God and to heaven. And, by grace, they arrive at the mansion above to be with the Father and with Jesus forever.

Is that true of you?

Hear Christ speak today: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Believe in Him and let not your heart be troubled.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we bring Thee our thanks and praise this day for Thy Word and for its simple and clear revelation of Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Bless this word to our hearts so that it may also be the cause of removing our trouble, our distress, our fear concerning this life and concerning death and the future. Help us to place all our trust in Jesus alone, for our salvation. In His name we pray, Amen.