Even though the 12 disciples were traveling with Jesus and learning from Jesus every day, there were still burning questions on their mind. They heard the teachings. The disciples saw the miracles. They had a front row seat to the opening of the Kingdom gates, but the doubts and fears persisted.
The disciple Thomas asked Jesus about how they will know where He is going and how will they know the way. Here is His reply:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus clearly states that the way to God the Father is through Him. The question just begs explanation and illumination. Jesus knew that He would go home to His Father.
Now it might sound rather narrow and arrogant to claim that He was the only way to the Father, except, of course, if it were true, in which case it becomes a declaration of an exclusive opportunity for those who believe.
The early followers of Jesus followed their master from Galilee to Samaria, to Jerusalem. They listened to His teachings. They put His wisdom into practice. It was a well-worn path. “The Way” became a family name of sorts, referring to those who followed the Messiah.
People of “the way” were moving towards God, not away from Him. When Jesus said “I am the way” He was offing an exclusive pathway to the arms of God.
No one is excluded
“I am the way” presents some problems, however. The thought of it being the only way to God creates conflict and there are so many competing points of view on who God is and how to draw near to Him.
As much as Jesus offered an exclusive way to God, He never excluded anyone. It is anything but exclusionary. All were welcome to come, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race or any other factor. In John 3:16, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus was not just providing information when He said “I am the truth.” Beyond information this is a dividing line between His life and death. It is about the reliability and faithfulness of God. It transcends right and wrong, or our sense of what is and what isn’t.
There is human truth, which all to often in these modern times is no truth at all, or some kind of watered-down version of what we think is truth. Christ offers us an absolute truth, that which is true in all times and in all cases and never changes.
Many people don’t believe in absolute truth. They say “what’s true for you may not be true for me.” Consider this exchange between Pontius Pilate and Jesus during His trial.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth ?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” (John 18:33-39)
According to the Jews, Jesus was not a king, but a heretic. The Jewish authorities wanted Him to die, because in a very real sense, the truth of Jesus was an absolute threat to their power and control over the people. Jesus did say He was a king. The absolute truth is, He is King of Kings.
The Messiah’s focus was not necessarily limited to the here and now. He was always talking about the Kingdom of God, the eternal kingdom.
“…I am the resurrection and the life . He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…” (John 11:25-26)
Shortly after telling this to His friends Mary and Martha, Jesus brought their brother Lazarus out of the grave, even though he died days earlier.
Jesus is the way the truth and the life
The fact that Jesus would rise on the third day and walk out of His tomb, just as He commanded Lazarus to do, is proof that He is the life. If there was no resurrection, everything Jesus said would be a lie. It might be nice to hear, or harmless on the surface, but a lie just the same. But Jesus is the truth and the life. The way to truth and the life and to God, is through Jesus.
The abundant grace of God is poured out to us in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the way to God, the truth of God and the life of God.