Metaphors of Jesus: The Way, the Truth and the Life

By Bruce James

The New Testament teaches that the Christian is a pilgrim on his way to glory. He is seeking a better country, a heavenly one. But without any direction, the Christian knows not how to go. But God speaks through His Son in this age leading in the way that leads to life. To say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is the most comprehensive of all claims (John 14:6).

1. Jesus said: “I am the Way.” Hundreds of years before this the Psalmist said: “Teach me thy way, O Lord” (Ps. 27:11; 86:11). Moses told the Israelites that they must not turn to the right or the left, but must walk in the way God had commanded them (Deut. 31:29). Isaiah heard God say: “This is the way, walk in it” (Isa. 30:21). This was the promise of a way of holiness in which nothing unclean could exist, and which was so clear that not even a fool could miss it (Isa. 35:8). Disciples of Christ, Christians, as a whole were first referred as “The Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9). And the letter to the Hebrews speaks of the new and living way which Jesus opened for us to the presence of the Father (Heb. 10:19). But Jesus’ claim goes beyond any of these thoughts. Notice that Jesus did not say, “I show you the way” or “I open for you the way.” He said, “I am the way.” If someone approaches us and asks us how to get to a certain place we can tell him with specific instructions as to how to get there, or we can give him a map, or we can do the best thing by going with him to be sure he reaches his destination. In the same way, Jesus did not only show us the way, or tell us the way only but also went with us. No man can fail to find the Way as long as he is following Jesus.

2. Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” Jesus is most certainly reliable and genuine, but the truth is not simply something which is intellectual or something to be known, it is also moral, something which is also to be done. John said, “He who does what is true comes to the light” (Jn. 3:21). “If we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth” (1 Jn. 1:6). We can see how much greater this truth is than intellectual truth. This truth enables man to live the good life. In fact, truth and goodness are one. To say that Jesus is the truth is to say that He is the perfect pattern of life as it should be lived.

3. Jesus said, “I am the Life.” This can be taken at least two ways. It can refer to physical life since John said of Jesus: “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:3, 4). The Word, Jesus, the pre-existent Christ brought life into the world. But even more it refers to eternal life. Jesus is the creator of life, and Jesus is the re-creator of life. He brought life in the beginning and He came to make life new. When Jesus offers eternal life it is evident that it means more than life which exists forever. For it to be a mere extension of life would be more a curse than anything else. Both quality and length enter into it. The life that Jesus brings to men is the life of God-living a life of godliness now (quality) and then being thus rewarded by being allowed to enter the gates of heaven forever (length). Remember Jesus’ words: “No one comes to the Father but by me.” Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Truth Magazine XXII: 26, pp. 427-428
June 29, 1978