It’s Thursday night of the Passover weekend, and Judas has just slipped out into the night. Earlier Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. Then He told them He would only be with them for a while longer, and that they needed to love each other just like He loved them. Confused, Peter asked where He was going. When told he could not follow Jesus now, Peter was stunned, “Why not? I would die for you!” Then Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times that very night.
It was a perplexing night to be a disciple. Peter wasn’t the only disciple confused. Thomas and Philip joined in the conversation. Jesus told them:
“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.” – John 14:1-4 (HCSB)
“Wait a minute, Jesus.” Thomas piped up. “We have no clue where you’re going. How could we know how to get there?”
And that’s when Jesus makes the claim:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” – John 14:6-7 (HCSB)
So what does He mean?
According to verses 2-3, Jesus is going to prepare a place. From the text, it would appear that place is Heaven, and it is clear that this place is with God the Father. Where specifically, that night, is Jesus on His way to? The cross. He has gone to not only prepare a place, but to make a way to that place. When Jesus died for our sins and came back to life, He made a way for us to be with God. Jesus is the way to God.
He also claims to be the truth. He is not trying to deceive us, but rather is showing us the truth of who He is, in order to bring us to God, His Father. Elsewhere, He says that His Father’s Word is truth (John 17:17), He is called the Word (John 1:1-3), and is the way the Father has revealed Himself in these last days (Hebrews 1:2). Knowing the truth sets us free (John 8:32), and ultimately it is knowing (having a relationship with) Jesus that sets us free from our sin and judgment.
As for calling Himself the life, Jesus told people that He had come to give abundant life (John 10:10). That is not necessarily material abundance, but the overflowing spiritual life that we have from knowing the Father, the only true God, and His son Jesus (John 17:3). It flows from within those who trust Him as the Holy Spirit lives inside and gives them life (John 7:37-39).
I know there are a lot of verses in brackets here. If you have the time, I do believe it would be worth your while to look them up and see what it reveals about Jesus. For the sake of space and flow in the article, I simply couldn’t include them all. There is one more thing I would like to point out to you though:
When Jesus makes this statement, He is claiming exclusivity. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. What that means is that outside of Jesus, there is no way to God, no conflicting truth, and no real or meaningful life. In a world that rejects moral absolutes in favor of relativism and tolerance, that claim may be something we like to gloss over when talking to people around us. Jesus doesn’t leave us the option to make Him just another option though. Either He is the only way, or He is no way at all.
You will have to make the choice whether you will believe Him. Your friends and family will have to make this choice for themselves, too. However, if Jesus really is the only way like He claims to be, then everyone you know who doesn’t know and trust Him will never be with God, except for when they are judged. His claims to exclusivity should awaken a reverent ‘fear’ of Him in our hearts.
We may think Jesus is narrow-minded to be the only way, but think for a moment why someone would want any other way to God. Every other way says we need to fix ourselves, to earn God’s favor. Jesus willingly went to the cross to make a way for us to come to God and find forgiveness and righteousness, on His account instead of ours. He calls us away from sin, yes. While we may not find it appealing to surrender our desires to follow Him, He would not be loving nor true if He told us that our sin (which draws us away from Him) did not cause any damage to ourselves or others.
He is the Way to the Father, the Truth about the Father, and the Life from the Father, given for us so that He will be honored. So come to Him, walk with Him, speak of Him, and remain in Him.