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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 57 – John 14:6

the Way, the Truth and the Life

And so we come to what is arguably the greatest of all the I AM statements of Jesus. He said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We have 2 major problems here. The first is understanding the full force and the wonder of that first three-fold declaration; the second is knowing what to do with the following statement that seems to exclude all but us from access to the true God.

In this study we just consider the statement.

Being a Christian was commonly referred to as following the Way in the book of Acts (9: 2; 19: 9, 23; 22 ; 4; 24 ;14, 22). This is an interesting and important contrast to too much thinking in the present day church where great emphasis is sometimes put on the act of conversion. Starting is always important as is a wedding but in the end it is the marriage, the way in which the act of marriage is worked out over the years, which is far more important. So it is with faith. It is easy to overlook the statements about living well, such as “we will all stand before God’s judgment seat”, which is in Romans chapter 14 and is surrounded by too many comments about living well as Christians to quote. Paul told the folk in the church at Philippi “to work out your salvation”. That he went on to say “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” does not in any way reduce the force of his command.

The well known commentator Don Carson wrote some poetic lines on the subject. Here are some extracts from them:

I am the Way to God: I did not come

To light a path, to blaze a trail, that you

May simply follow in my tracks, pursue

My shadow like a prize that’s cheaply won. …..

My path takes in Gethsemane, the Cross,

And stark rejection draped in agony.

My way to God embraces utmost loss:

Your way to God is not my way, but me. …..

And so it is. When Jesus said ‘I AM the way’ he was reminding the disciples that it was in identity with him that they would get anywhere at all in their search for God and their endeavour to travel the same way as Jesus – which is what occasioned his statement in reply to the question of Thomas (v5). In a few moments he will go on to talk about how this can and will be done through the work of the Holy Spirit within the believer – but that is a topic for an other Gem.

For the moment he goes on to say that this will be done through truth and is the only way to a full and rewarding life.

To quote Carson again:

I am the Truth of God: I do not claim

I merely speak the truth, …..

The Triune God decided that the Word,

The self-expression of the Deity,

Would put on flesh and blood – and thus be heard.

The claim to speak the truth good men applaud.

I claim much more: I am the Truth of God.

The thought is very close to that of Wisdom, the Old Testament expression of the truth of God working in the believer to enable them to live a good and fulfilling life. Which thought takes us on to the third and last quote from Carson:

I am the Resurrection Life. …… I’m the drink

Of life. ….. By my triumph, I deal death to lusts and hates,

My life I now extend to men and women, …..

I’m the Resurrection and the Life.

Here only is full, true, satisfying life: following the Way of Jesus. That is the stunning claim that Jesus makes in these words. Not acceptable in many parts of the world in different ways as we shall see in the next Gem. Here is all the Good News about Jesus and our relationship to him in 9 words, only 5 of them of great significance, the others are but ‘the’ and ‘and’. Think of them often. Treasure them. Build them into your life.

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