I am the Way, the Truth and the Life
– “That’s the way.”
– “Ain’t that the truth.”
– “This is the life.”
How do we tend to speak of the way, the truth and the life?
For us, ‘the way’ is usually a technique or learned habit. In the ‘religious realm’ we might think of lengthy pilgrimages and ritualised approaches to God.
For us, ‘the truth’ is information or compelling logic. In the ‘religious realm’ we might think of the mysteries of the faith or catechisms which must be taught.
For us, ‘the life’ is ordering drinks poolside on our summer holiday, or walking through breath-taking scenery. In the ‘religious realm’ we might think of the life as something far-off – an eternal reward for those who get ‘the way’ and ‘the truth’ right.
The trouble with our thinking is that we leave Jesus out of it. And the results are disastrous.
In John 14, Jesus has just redefined the afterlife for His followers. The essence of our future hope is that we will be where Jesus is. The future is not a paradise of pleasures so much as the presence of Jesus.
Jesus will similarly personalise our concepts of way and truth and life as He continues…
“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (John 14:4-10)
What is the way to God?
It is not a long ascent to heaven through deeds and rituals. The way is Jesus. And therefore it is a way that has come down to us! The way is not our approach to God. The way is Christ’s approach to God and He is given freely to us.
This means if we ask ourselves “Am I on the way to God?” we are really asking the question “Am I in Jesus?” And if we are in Jesus, we are not just on the way – we have arrived! Jesus does not show us the way and leave us to get on with it. Jesus blazes the trail and invites us directly to the destination.
What is the truth of God?
It is not an impersonal logic that we have to piece together through information gathered ‘on the ground.’ The truth is Jesus. Therefore, again, the truth has come down to us and told us what we didn’t already know.
This means if we ask ourselves “Do I know God?” we are really asking the question “Do I see Jesus for who He is?” This is how He speaks to Philip. When Philip wants to see God, Jesus insists “Look at me!” Jesus does not show us truths about God, He puts Himself in our eye-line and says “Keep looking.” Truth does not assess the claims of Jesus. Jesus is the Truth who assesses everything else!
What is the life of God?
It is not an abstract ethical programme or spiritual state or future bliss. The life of God is Jesus. The Son constitutes (in fact eternally constitutes) the Father as Father. And life is to be drawn into Christ, to share in His life with God. As Jesus prays in John 17:3:
“This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Jesus does not simply get us to God or get us to truth or get us to eternal life. He is those things. Those things – even the Father and the Spirit! – are in Jesus. He contains, within Himself, God on the one hand and all creation on the other.
How do you think of Jesus?
You cannot think too highly of Him. He is incomparable and all-encompassing.
How do you think of God and the world?
You cannot think of them Christ-lessly. He’s got the whole world in His hands!
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