By Grover Stevens
Our study is “Jesus: the way, the truth and the life.” This statement, and claim, of Jesus is found in one of the most favorite, familiar, and endearing texts in the Bible. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And where I go ye know, and the way ye know.” Thomas, desiring to understand says, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” The Lord then makes the statement of our text one of the most remarkable and profound statements ever made “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes unto the Father, but by Me.”
How full of meaning is the message conveyed in these few brief words. The Lord here and in the conversation that follows plainly declares that he is God is Deity; not was, or going to be, but is (“Am”). He here equates himself with the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is each of these as well as all of them together. He is the true way of life. He did not say “I will show you the way,” but “I am the way.” He did not say “I have the truth,” but “I am the truth.” The Lord did not say, “I lead unto life,” but “I am the life.”
“I Am the Way”
Christ is the way to the Father. A way is a path, a route, a roadway. Some say, “How can I know the way when one preacher tells me one way and another some other way? Dear friend, the Lord did not say, “The preacher, or the Pope, or mother or father is the way,” but “I am the way.” Dear friend, do not follow this preacher or that, or the Pope, or anyone else, but the Lord Jesus himself. He is the Way.
We have all, some time or other, followed a marked path to a given destination. I read a story of one of our pioneer preachers riding horseback along a road in unfamiliar territory, when he came upon a barricade with a sign warning that the bridge was out. Distressed, he lookedabout to study just how he might proceed when he saw what appeared to be a marker showing the way. He went to investigate and sure enough just before he reached the first marker he could see the next, and so on through the heavy wooded section of the river bottom. By following the marked trail he was able to pass through the unfamiliar territory and reach his destination. Just so with the Lord Jesus; he is the marked trail “the way” through this old sinful world to the wonderful city of God and to bosom of the Father. He says, “Follow me and I will take you to the Father.”
Christ is the only way to the Father. “No one comes to the Father but by me.” Hence, he is not only the way, but he is the only way to the Father. This way is referred to as the “the way of God,” “the way of salvation,” the way of truth, and “the way of holiness” (Acts 18:26; Matt. 22:16; Acts 16:17; John 14:6; Isa. 35:8; etc.). Our Lord said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Many say that it doesn’t matter what doctrine you believe just so you have Christ, but dear friend, God tells us, “Whosoever . . . abideth not in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ hath both the Father and the Son (2 Jn.9). Yes, indeed, it does make a difference what you believe. Again, the Lord said, “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9); and “Every plant (doctrine or practice) which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13-14). Any doctrine that is not found in the Word of God is “of men,” not God. All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph. 1:3). We have redemption through his blood in Christ (Eph.1:7; Col. 1:14). We must be “in Christ” to be a “new creature” (born again) (2 Cor. 5:17), and we get in Christ by being baptized “into” Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27), and we are “born again” by “obeying the truth” (1 Pet. 1:22-23; Rom. 6:17-18).
There is no other way. All religion that seeks to “come unto the Father” in some other way than in and through Christ (Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, etc.) is doomed to failure, according to this word of Christ (John 14:6). Again we hear the Lord say, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not My words (the gospel of the New Testament), hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48); and all who “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . shall be punished in flaming fire with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thess. 1: 8-9). This also applies to those who claim to believe in Christ, but reject his teaching. The Lord further said, “Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Many teach that it doesn’t make any difference what you believe, or whether you are baptized or not, or “how” or “why” you are baptized, or whether you worship or not and how you worship, etc. Such people are not following Christ, the way, but their own way the way of their choice. The way of Christ is the way of truth. You must believe what Christ tells you to believe, the truth, the gospel (Mk. 16:15; 1 Thess. 2:13); you obey Christ’s command to be “buried” in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4), “to be saved” (Mk. 16:16), “for remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), to get “into Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27) who is the true way; and he will add you to the church he established (Acts 2:41,47), not some de-nomination (Acts 20:29-39; Gal. 1:6-9); and you worship the way Christ tells you to worship (John 4:23-24).
“I Am the Truth”
Truth is truth only because of God. Without God there would be no right or wrong, or truth. Truth, righteousness, holiness, light, and love, in any and all fields, whether mathematical, logical, moral (ethical or religious) are all basically the same thing just different aspects; and they all derive their meaning from the inherent nature and character of God, who is the origin, source, and essence of each. The statement that two and two make four, or that honesty is good and lying is bad, expresses an everlasting principle in the eternal character of God. God and Truth have the same attributes and character; things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. God and truth are both eternal, immutable, perfect, unchanging, accurate, consistent, immortal, infinite, incorruptible, harmonious, faithful, reliable, trustworthy, dependable, right and righteous. Men can say, “I speak the truth,” but only God can say, “I am the truth.” The God of the Bible is the only true God because no other being possesses these attributes. Jesus Christ is one with the Father. To know Jesus is to know the Father. To “see” Jesus is to “see” the Father. He is not speaking of the fleshly body. The words of Christ are the words of the Father. The Father is in Christ and he is in the Father.
“I Am the Life”
God is life. In every nook and cranny of the world around us there is abundance and variety of life living things. Among the millions or billions of kinds of life, human life stands out in uniqueness and singularity. God tells us this is because it alone is a combination of physical life and spiritual life (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). All life is from God (Gen. 1; Psa. 36:9; Acts 17:24-29). Something is eternal. Something cannot come from nothing, therefore some-thing has always been. All that is in existence had to be in that eternal “something.” Hence, that which existed eternally possessed life. J.W.M. Sullivan, one of the world’s greatest physicists, says, “Life never arises except from life . . . this (fact) leads back to some supernatural creative act” GOD! (Limitations of Science 94). The Lord Jesus said, “I am come that (men) may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” “Abundantly” refers to the fullness and richness of the life in Christ Christ’s way of life that higher and nobler life of which human life is capable. See John 8:12; Luke 12:15; Jude 10.
Eternal Life. Life is union (Gen. 2:7), and death is separation (Jas. 2:26). Man has both physical life and spiritual life. At death (separation) both go back to their point of origin the body to dust, and the soul/spirit to God (Eccl. 12:6-7). Spiritual life (eternal life) is to be united with God, and spiritual death is to be separated from God, banished into darkness and despair (Matt. 25:41,46; Rom. 6:23). The Lord Jesus said, speaking spiritually as he points out in v. 58, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day . . . so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever” (Jn. 6:54-58). Again God tells us, “He that hath the Son hath life (eternal life,v.13), and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 Jn. 5:12). Again, Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (Jn. 11:25). Indeed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII No.23, p. 18-19
December 1, 1994