Open Wooden Gate

Who Is Jesus? The Way, the Truth, and the Life

At the end of Jesus’ public ministry, John presents a window into how our Lord ministered directly and exclusively to His disciples as He braced Himself for the cross. Jesus told His disciples He was leaving to go to the Father, and this revelation troubled His followers, filling them with anxiety.

Jesus, having sympathy and compassion, reminds the disciples of the need to believe in God and in Him through their time of distress. Our Lord also gives the disciples a reason for such strong faith, which focused on His mission to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house.

The logical conclusion Jesus draws is if He goes to prepare a place for the disciples, then He will come again to take them to be with Him so they will all be together forever with Him and the Father. This promise is the great Christian hope: the return of Christ and our unbroken and personal fellowship with our Savior in His glorious presence for all eternity. Jesus wants to calm His disciples’ troubled hearts by teaching them that the departure is not the end of the story.

However, in classic fashion, the disciples do not understand Jesus’ meaning. Thomas asks Jesus a question, speaking like someone looking for GPS coordinates. It is in response to Thomas’ query we get what is perhaps the greatest, most comprehensive statement Jesus ever made about who He is during His earthly ministry, saying that He is the way, and the truth, and the life.

Jesus’ assertion here is the true balm for the troubled soul, bringing us face to face with Christ amid our confusion, turmoil, distress, and anxiety. Like the disciples, our hearts are easily overwhelmed by our needs and circumstances. We, too, desperately need this reminder about who Jesus is to calm our troubled hearts.

Christ tells us four things about who He is in John 14:6. Looking at these truths from His statement in this passage will strengthen our faith in the Father and the Son, allowing us to find rest and peace when our hearts are troubled.

First, notice that Jesus is the way.

Given the context of Thomas’ question, Jesus puts this phrase first because it receives the immediate emphasis. Thomas is thinking in impersonal terms – of a way being a road or a route. Jesus wants to reorient Thomas’ consideration so he thinks of the way to the Father – and not as a specific route to take, but a person to trust, namely Jesus Himself.

It’s important to note Jesus says He is the way, not simply a way. Jesus is not one path among many by which someone might get to God. Only through the way opened by Christ’s blood on the cross can we get to the Father, and only those who have been cleansed by His blood are worshipping the true and living God.

The reason the natural man rejects the way is because he thinks this direction is too difficult and narrow. They see the narrow path, that small and unimpressive gate, and they think, “Surely life cannot be found by entering through the gate of a crucified Messiah and following Him to God. Surely life must be found by entering through the gate most of the intellectual elites, political class, religious leaders, and noble people enter. The fact, though, that a majority of people reject the way and blaze their own path does not change the reality that Jesus is the only way to the Father.

Second, Jesus is the truth.

If Jesus’ declaration that He is the way is rejected by today’s culture as being too narrow-minded, then His declaration that He is the truth is incomprehensible to people. The claim Jesus makes here is utterly intolerant to most men and women because we live in a world that has rejected God’s authority – and therefore truth.

Jesus, however, says He is the truth; He is the ultimate authority who defines what is and is not true. This is why we cannot separate Jesus from His Word, as if we believe Jesus is true but the Bible has errors. That’s why Paul could identify the gospel as the message of truth in Ephesians 1:13, because it is the message given to us by Jesus Christ, making it a true message. In a world of lies and deception, in a world that has rejected the very idea of truth (not merely that truth is out there), we must insist that truth has a name, and His name is Jesus.

Third, Jesus is the life.

There are several ways John brought out the meaning of this statement throughout his gospel account. Jesus is the source of life in John 5:26. Jesus, as the Son of God, has life in Himself, and His life is not dependent or contingent like ours. Jesus is the Creator of every created thing in John 1:3-4. Everything that has been created was created by the Word of God, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the giver of eternal life as we have studied when Jesus called Himself the bread of life, the door of the sheep, the good shepherd, and the resurrection and the life. In fact, all the ‘I Am’ statements Jesus has made to this point in the Gospel of John drive us to this one, all-important truth: Jesus Christ is the source and giver of eternal life to those who put their trust in Him.

Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. If these things are true of Christ, as we know they are, then there is only one conclusion to draw, namely that Christ is exclusively all-sufficient.

Our world hates the exclusive claims of Christ, and so often we can want to avoid the offense of a statement like the one Jesus made here. We must, however, avoid that temptation because Jesus’ statement is entirely exclusive. There is no other way to God but Christ. There is no other truth but Christ. There is no other life but Christ. Everything outside of Christ is just a deceptive counterfeit.

If there is no way to the Father’s presence but Christ, and there is no other truth that can save and sanctify by Christ, and there is no other life outside of Christ, what do we need that Christ does not possess? Where can we go besides Christ for our every need in our every circumstance?

This question was the disciples’ big problem as Jesus prepared them for His departure to the Father: they feared their needs and circumstances would leave them devastated and destroyed. Jesus comes to them with this encouraging word, that because He is going to the Father, and because He goes to the cross to lay down His life and rise from the dead, He is exclusively all-sufficient. There are no needs and no circumstances where we need something outside of Christ, something beyond Christ, something that Christ cannot give, or something more than Christ. Jesus promises His disciples He will always be their all-sufficient Savior and Lord.

For those who are outside of Christ, this is a word of judgement, but it is also a word of invitation. It is Jesus’ command to unbelievers to repent of their unbelief, and to turn to Christ as their all-sufficient Savior and Lord, to believe upon Him, to confess Him, and to follow Him all their days.

For those of us who are in Christ, these words are a reminder that Christ is all we need. The Reformers had a phrase for this, and it was solus Christus, Christ alone. Because Christ is sufficient for every need as our exclusive, all-sufficient Savior, we look to Him in faith in every circumstance and with every need. He is the way; He is the truth; and He is the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.

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