When Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life”, it was a clear declaration of the Father’s love through the sacrifice of the Son and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
There is no shortage of options in this world we live in. It is easy to become comfortable and settle in when everything can seemingly be acquired or achieved easily. But as followers of Jesus, we know that this world is not our eternal destiny. We are made to enjoy forever in heaven with our Creator. Perhaps all of us have, at one point or another, wondered how we get there. How can we have eternal life in heaven with our Father? Is it possible to be restored to all holiness despite our utter sinfulness?
The Bible has a clear and specific answer to these valid and quite common questions. In the gospel of John chapter 14, we find Jesus saying this: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Let us explore all the truths of these verses and find out what Jesus means.
What Jesus Really Meant When He Said “I am the Way the Truth and the Life”
This famous saying of Jesus is found in the gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6. But for us to understand what Jesus meant when He said this, we need to go several chapters back.
As early as John 5, we see Jesus already starting His ministry by healing the sick at the pool of Bethesda on a Sabbath (John 5:1-17). He also started preaching and proclaiming that whoever hears His words and believes in Him will have eternal life (John 5:24). Jesus performed miracles in private among His disciples (John 6:16-21) and in public, like the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15).
His fame grew and people near and far began seeking Him and following Him (literally) because His teachings were full of truth and grace. As expected, this did not sit well with the church leaders and Pharisees at the time. They began to accuse Jesus of heresy and wanted to arrest Him immediately. In His heart, Jesus knew it was almost time to fulfill the will of His Father in redeeming humanity.
In John 13, we see that right before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus performs an act that was not customary for rabbis. He shocks His disciples by washing their feet (verses 1-20). He sets an example of servant leadership and teaches them to serve one another in the same way. It was during their Passover dinner that Jesus gives them a new commandment to love one another just as He has loved them (verse 34).
And of course, this is when Jesus reminds them that the only way to the Father is through Him. The disciples did not realize it, but Jesus was telling them how they can be with Him and the Father in eternity. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is leaving them now, but it is only through Him, nothing else, and no one else, that they can be with God forever. What He was about to do, He needed to do because it was the only way for all of humanity.
The disciples must have been very confused at the time when Jesus was telling them all these things. They have already gained momentum in preaching to the people. They have a significant following. And they thought they could regain leadership over Jerusalem, and the Romans would be gone. Why is Jesus talking about going away? What does He mean by Him being the way, the only truth, and the life? Maybe you have those same questions. Let’s try to look more closely into the parts of this verse.
The Key Parts of “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:5-6
The world offers us many different ways to achieve our goals, reach our dreams, obtain happiness, become successful, or find our destiny. Sadly, the world also tells us that there are many different ways to go to reach God. False religion was birthed because man attempted to reach God. It teaches that whatever feels right for us, whatever we think can lead us closer to God or make us right with Him, we are free to pursue. But true religion teaches that it is God who reached out first. It is the living God who sent His one and only Son to become the way for God to reach us.
Jesus saying “He is the way” is a confirmation of this truth. He is the way to all the blessings of the covenant of grace. It’s interesting to note that He uses the definitive article THE. He is THE way. Not just one of the ways, but He is the only path. There is a certainty and a possessive characteristic to this declaration. This is why the Bible also says the only path to God is a narrow one (Matthew 7:13) because there is only one way. Only through faith in the complete work of Christ on the Cross.
The Way to the Father
The second half of the verse is a ready answer to the question we may have in mind: The way to where? Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Three things we can glean from this one sentence:
- We were created by God for God. Isaiah 43:7 in the Old Testament says, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.” God created us out of His overflowing love and continues to sustain us out of His unending kindness all for one thing – so we can honor (glorify) Him and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question #1).
- Because of sin, we were physically and morally separated from the true God. He is holy, man is not. He is perfect, man is not. That is why there is a need for a mediator, a “way” for us to be able to come back to God. The Bible says this mediator is Jesus and He paid for all our sins through His own blood. (1 Timothy 2:5)
- It is only through the perfect life of Christ that we can be restored to the Father. No one else, nothing else. Because of our sins, it is impossible to become worthy of the Father’s love and presence. But through the sacrifice of Jesus through His own blood, we are made right in the Father’s eyes. Jesus’ righteousness is imputed upon us. (Romans 5:17-19)
The Way of Christ vs. The Way of Men
The way of Christ is in stark contrast with the way of men. 4 chapters before Jesus said He is the way, He proclaimed to His disciples that He is the good shepherd (John 10:11). His way is to lay down His life voluntarily for the sake of His sheep. As the good shepherd, He gives life by sacrificing His own. He is love, hope, and wisdom.
On the contrary, the way of men is limited and self-centered. Without Christ, man is depraved and incapable of doing anything good. All our thoughts and plans may seem right to our eyes, but they all end in destruction if we pursue them more than we pursue Christ. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
Indeed, His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
Whatever we believe is true has a major influence on how we live our lives. If we believe absolute truth does not exist, then we will start to live according to whatever we believe in or do whatever we want to do. If we believe truth is relative, which means what is true for you may not be true for us, then we will become passive individuals with no conviction over everything.
Today we live in a social media world full of filters and aesthetics. Everything is strategically planned to make anything or anyone look perfect. This video by Ditch the Label is a great ad that has gained a lot of views because it is very relatable. People make things up to have an enviable curated feed, even if it is far from the truth.
There may be different reasons why people do this, but the bottom line is that they are not content with their reality. If only people will come to understand the only truth – the absolute, divine truth – then perhaps they will not fall into the temptation of creating facades.
What is this truth, then? The only truth is the gospel. Rice Broocks defines the gospel: “The gospel is the good news that God became man in Jesus Christ. He lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died – in our place. Three days later, He rose from the dead, proving He is the Son of God and offering the gift of salvation to those who repent and believe in Him.” (Rice Broocks, Man, Myth, Messiah: Answering History’s Greatest Question)
This is the basic truth that we should believe and trust. Anything that deviates from this is a lie, a terrible thing to make as our life’s foundation.
The Reality of Truth
With all the information and resources available at our fingertips, how can we distinguish the truth? Here are some ways to identify if it’s the truth or not:
- Divine. Truth only comes from God. It is not determined by nations or cultures or humanity. Romans 3:4 says, “By no means! Let God be true though everyone was a liar…”
- Absolute. Truth applies to everyone and everything. It has authority over all. This debunks the belief that truth is relative. Green is green even if someone says it’s yellow.
- Immutable. Truth never changes. The Bible says God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). And because the truth is spoken by our unchanging God thru His Word, the truth will never change.
- Determinative. Whatever we believe is true will determine our eternity.
The Rejection of Truth
The defiance against truth has been around for many centuries. It is not unique to our generation or this epoch. As early as the time of Noah and Lot, there have always been people who opposed it. What we witness today – a magnified, unabashed pursuit of things the Bible calls sin – is a failure of many to stand by the truth. Not having the spiritual bones to fight for what is true, good, and beautiful has a generational and eternal impact. Here are some ways humanity rejects the truth:
- Humanism – This claims that man is the ultimate truth.
- Pragmatism – This claims that whatever works for people is the truth.
- Relativism – This claims that what is true for one may not be true for another.
- Hedonism – This says that whatever feels good is the truth.
- Skepticism – This says no one can tell what the truth is.
The rejection of the truth is actually what caused the first humans to fall. What the serpent did was twist God’s Word and reject the truth that God established. And because Adam and Eve did not trust in God, they fell for Satan’s traps.
Therefore, it is important for us believers now more than ever to root in the truth. How can we do this? Colossians 2:6-7 offers great wisdom on this: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
First, receive Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Receiving Him as Savior means trusting that salvation can only come from Him and His finished work on the Cross. Receiving Him as Lord means He is now your perfect master, and He calls the shots in your life.
Second, walk in Him. The Bible says when we abide in Christ, we will bear fruit (John 15:5) and we will not gratify our fleshly desires (Galatians 5:16).
Third, root and built up in Him and established in the faith. Psalm 1 is a beautiful expression of what a man becomes when he constantly feeds his mind with the Word of God. He shall be like a flourishing tree planted by streams of water, always bearing fruits in season.
Fourth, always have a grateful heart. One who is always thankful for the Lord’s mercies and grace will desire to know Him more.
The last part of this verse is about life. With all the medical advances made, there are now hundreds of procedures and treatments available to prolong a man’s life. But what does Jesus mean when He says He is the life?
When we receive and follow Jesus wholeheartedly, we find that all we need in this life is in Him. Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
In our time-bound life on this earth, we can live with joy, peace, hope, humility, and contentment as we know that this world will not be our home for all of eternity. All that we accomplish is by God’s grace and for God’s glory, and our rewards will be in heaven. All that we endure and suffer in this life are temporary, nothing compared to what our Father in Heaven has prepared for us.
When Jesus tells He is the life, He does not only refer to our life on earth but more so our life in eternity. 1 John 5:11 clearly tells this for us: “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
Bible Verses Related To “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”
Here are some more verses that can help us better understand “I am The Way, and the Truth, and the Life”:
- “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
- “For through him, we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)
- “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
- “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live. (John 11:25)
- “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:7-11)
What is the Relevance of “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” Today?
God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He revealed to the disciples and Israel 2000 years ago is still true today. Now more than ever we need to remember, understand and accept this truth. Every day, we are bombarded with distraction and misdirection, false doctrines and false theology, and lies and the temptation to make us desire this world and this life more than Christ. But when we know for sure The Way, The Truth, and The Life, these traps of the enemy will be futile.
Half-truths and lies will fall on dead ears. The subtle seduction to love things of this world more than eternity with our heavenly Father will be easily detected and aborted.
John 14:6 is one of the most basic and important passages in Scripture. This one sentence makes us think about how can we know the way to God. Only through Jesus. Jesus is the way because He is both God and man. Jesus says He is the only way to God the Father. As the “way,” Jesus is our path to the Father. As the “truth,” He is the reality of all God’s promises. And as the “life,” He joins His divine life to ours, both now and eternally. Jesus is the only way to the Father, the only divine and absolute truth, and the only one who gives us eternal life.
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