Text: John 14:1-14
Today we consider the sixth “I Am” saying of Jesus. Jesus spoke these words on the evening of his betrayal, the day before his crucifixion. In 13:33 he had already told his disciples that he was only going to be with them a while longer. Then they would look for him but not find him. All this talk about Jesus leaving was disturbing to his followers. In 14:3 Jesus proceeds to tell them, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. Then in vrs 4 Jesus drops an offhanded comment. “But of course, you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas confesses that he does not. I am thankful that Thomas had the courage to voice his ignorance because the Lord goes on to give this sixth saying.
I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
People love to quote John Godfrey Saxe’s poem; “the blind men and the elephant.” In the poem six blind men wanted to learn what an elephant was like. Each approached the elephant from a different direction. One approached from the side and described the beast as a wall. A second approached the tusk and compared the elephant to a spear. The third felt the trunk and likened the elephant to a snake. The fourth felt the ear and likened the animal to a fan. The fifth examined the leg and compared it to a tree. The last man approached the tail and compared it to a rope. Two lines from the poem summarise Saxe’s view, though each was partly in the right and all were in the wrong. This is the world’s perspective. All religions are basically describing the same animal from a different vantage point. The poem seems so respectful, but it is incorrect. Think about two things:
- What if the elephant speaks and debunks all these foolish ideas and simply says,
“I am an elephant!” The God of the bible is a speaking God and he makes very direct claims. In vrs 6 Jesus says, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Believers in Christ were not initially called “Christians.” This was a name that was given to them by the people of Antioch in Acts 11:26. Before that perhaps the most common name by which believers were called was “the people of the Way” (Acts 9:2). No doubt they were called this because of what Jesus said in John 14:6. Jesus simple statement “I am the way” puts us on a collision course with the pluralism that surrounds us. He is the only way to heaven (Acts 4:12).
- The second reason why Saxe’s poem is incorrect is because the narrator is not Blind. He sees the whole picture and smiles at the blind people arguing over their contradictory viewpoints. Not only does Jesus tells his disciples that he is the way but he goes on to say that he is the truth and the life. He proceeds in vrs 7 to say, if you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. Philip speaks up and says Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. The disciples had seen many amazing things, the dead raised to life, the blind and deaf having their sight and hearing restored, Jesus transfigured and feeding five thousand. Now they ask for something that not even Moses was permitted to see (Exodus 33:20). Jesus’ response in vrs 9 is earth shattering, anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. In vrs 10, 11 Jesus proceeds to inform Philip that the disciples had been in the presence of God incarnate. They had been accompanying the very manifestation of the invisible God for the past three years.
Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. He is the truth because he tells us the truth about himself and ourselves. We are sinners in need of forgiveness. Jesus is the way because he has made a way possible for us to stand before a holy God. He went to the cross to die for our sins. Jesus is also the life because it is only once we embrace him as Saviour, that life, real life starts.