John 14:4-6. The way, the truth and the life

John 14:4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus’ disciples now understand that he is leaving them. They are grieving and fearful. But he comforts them by saying that his purpose is to prepare a place for them so that they can ultimately be together in his Father’s home. But there are so many questions, even at the most basic level.

So Thomas does what all women wish men would do when unsure: he asks for directions. But instead of a simple set of instructions on how to follow Jesus to where he was going, Jesus responds with self-disclosure. The most important thing for the disciples to understand at that time was not ‘where’ and ‘how’, but ‘who’.

He says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ The definite article is used three times, with powerful effect. That is, Jesus is not merely a way to God— a vehicle, or a pathway— he is the way. He is the singular means of journeying to the Father. 

And he is the way because he is the truth. Jesus is not the way to the truth, nor is he offering some helpful insights on what he thinks the truth might be. He is it. According to our culture, the truth, if it exists at all, is a subjective feeling, an intuition, or maybe it’s the majority opinion. Instead, biblical truth is revealed by God in the person of Jesus Christ. He is objectively and concretely The Truth. He does not offer a kind of ethereal enlightenment, like a guru mumbling cryptic platitudes. Jesus says that he, himself, is the Truth— the Truth is a person.

Climactically, because Jesus is the way and the truth, he is the Life. The life lived beyond the grave is with him, sustained by him, and consists of knowing him and enjoying him. Jesus is the key, the pathway and the substance of the resurrection life that is lived with the Father forever. 

And he is the only way to get to the Father. He is not the best way, the preferred way or the easiest way. He is the only way. In our age of options, alternatives and “everybody gets to be right”, Jesus’ words are offensive to some. But the truth is not always popular or easy.

So we see that Christian life and experience is Jesus-centred. It is the Jesus-centred way, with Jesus-centred truth and a Jesus-centred life. We come to God because of him, through him and in him. We don’t work our way there or bring ourselves to the Father. Jesus does it all and no one comes alone. How wonderfully liberating!

Lord Jesus Christ, the one who is the way, the truth and the life, please re-shape my thinking, my doing and my believing that all may centred upon you. Amen.