Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Before we consider this verse, it's important to understand the significance of what was going on at that time, and what led Jesus to say these words. This chapter in John is very practical and extremely relevant to the many struggles that Christians face today. The troubles and storms in life in general, concerns, problems, and what lies around the next corner! The modern term that is used is stress! At times they weigh heavily upon us. We worry, causing anxiety and depression. The disciples were no exception, nor are you. Jesus words were to reassure them. To put those whom he loved, at ease. Therefore his words to them are of relevance and are a tremendous source of comfort and encouragement to us today, just as they were back then.
So, what was happening at that particular time? Why were the disciples in a troubled state? After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21)
But which one? Is it me? We know it was Judas, a professed friend. Jesus couldn't keep it in any longer, the secret had to be told and placed into the open. They had to be told. Not only that, Jesus had told them he would die. Before him lay the mock trial, and the cross.
Then, Jesus says to them "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ (John 13:33)
Another blow, Jesus is leaving us!? What is going on? What is going to happen? What will become of us? You can imagine their turmoil. Sorrow, heartache, despair all mixed together.
Simon Peter boldly speaks out "Lord, where are you going? " and "Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then comes the blow to Peter's self-confidence. Jesus replied "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times." No Peter, instead you will disown me. (John 13:38)
In light of all that was happening, Jesus' words to them at the beginning of chapter 14 may have come as a bit of a surprise. "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." (John 14:1) Jesus seeks to reassure and calm the disciples. As said, we all at various times in our own experiences feel irrational fear, or troubled thoughts and doubts. We shouldn't be worried, but...yet again.. And yes, I trust in God, but I still worry regardless! The devil loves to sow doubt. Am I going to worry about my situation?
To all our doubts, and worries, Jesus says the same words to you. Jesus' point is this, believe in me just as you ought to trust in God the Father. Trust in God! Things will work out! You may not know how, and the precise ins and outs of what is going to happen, but God does! He is sovereign. Believe in God to sort things out. 'Believe in me, trust my words, because I speak the words of the Father.'
Toward the end of this entire dialogue, Jesus reminds them again with similar words "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves." (John 14:11) Here is a profound mystery. There is only one God, but God comprises of three persons. There is a closeness, a unity in the Godhead which we can't understand or with words describe. He is one, yet they are three. Nevertheless, the keyword to them and us here is BELIEVE! Trust me! Receive me! Lean on me, bank on me! Believe on what you have seen with your own eyes, all the evidence, the miracles and signs! They prove to you who I am! Therefore trust in my words. And in doing that, you may no longer be troubled in heart.
We could put what Jesus says another way – You can't believe in one without the other! You cannot believe in Jesus without believing in the Father who sent him. You cannot believe in God the Father and not trust in his Son. Just believe! I Am the promised one, the one sent to bring you back to the Father! The Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son! If you want to know what God is like – look at Jesus! Jesus is the presence of the Father in the flesh! Jesus says to the disciples, don't you know this by now? Look at the works I do! Look at the evidence! Are you looking, and believing? So believe in God, believe in me! Same thing. They are included in each other - Indivisibly one!
Everything is under control
Jesus says to them, I am going to be betrayed, after which I'm leaving you. You may think you will be okay, but you are not even going to last the night, especially Peter, but believe in me. When things go pear-shaped, and the world is seemingly turned upside down, and you fear for your very lives; continue to believe in me! It is a big ask. But not if you understand who it is that asks this of you.
Then Jesus lovingly provides the main reason, and comfort to the disciples why they and you should not be troubled, and believe in him. "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." (John 14:2)
Jesus says don't worry! Everything is under my control. I leave you to go to my Father's house. It is a large place! Huge! Spacious. In it, there are several rooms! Each one of YOU will have their own prepared room to stay in. I go away to prepare them, to make them ready for your arrival. If it were not true, I would not have told you. And I'm coming back again.
The going away – it implies the Father's house is somewhere distant, not in Jerusalem, not a temple. It's a family home, not a hotel with rooms. The picture Jesus is conveying is that in the Father's house we will all be together. Not dwelling in separate buildings. It's one big family home, Jesus will make all things ready for our arrival.
So Thomas, Peter, and all of you don't be concerned. Don't worry. Don't get upset! Don't be troubled about what the future has in store, but believe! What wonderful promises are here for us as well! If you trust in Jesus, you will get to stay in your own room, in the Father's home forever. Not as a guest, but as one of the family.
So Jesus says yes, I'm leaving. No, you can't come with me. Things will happen to turn your world upside down but take heart, I will return. I will come back for you. Our separation is not final, not permanent. There will be a joyful reunion. You will be with me again – and that's the essence of heaven - to be with Jesus! He is the bridegroom awaiting his bride. He will take us to be with him. There can be no room for doubt.
Okay, Thomas understands, he has only one question. Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way? (John 14:5) Jesus told them you know the way to this house, but Thomas says – no we don't! We don't know the destination, the route, so how can we know how to get there? It sounds like quite a reasonable argument. Was Thomas the spokesman of the group? Possibly. But Thomas was thinking in earthly terms. He was thinking that when the promised kingdom would arrive it would be like other kingdoms on this earth. Okay, you are going to the Father, yes I get that. There is also going to be a room prepared for me, okay. But how do I get there? Is it somewhere in Africa? Or perhaps mainland Europe? How do I program my satnav!?
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
Jesus' answer is mind-blowing. "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus does not merely show the way, he lights up the way - he himself is the way. Yes, he teaches us the way to God, he guides us on the right path, but he has opened up for us a new living way (Hebrews 10:20) This is only possible because he himself is the way. We are not saved by following rules, good deeds, principles, or by a force but by a living person. We only have access to the Father through Jesus. He himself is the way and the door through which we enter. He doesn't spell out exactly here to Thomas how he is the way. We know from other scripture it's by going to the cross and dying in our place, his body broken, his blood shed. In fact, this must be done in the next few hours to open up the way back to the Father, by his substitutionary death and resurrection.
Not only am I the way but I am also the truth Thomas. Jesus is the very substance of truth. He is truth in person, for "It is impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:13) So we can trust Jesus. His words and promises are true. We can rely on his word, because of who he is. God is not like us, we lie and change our minds over what we have said. He is unchangeably the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 10:8) Believe in me Thomas, trust what I say, I will not let you down.
I am also the life Thomas. He is life personified. He is the creator God who gives and sustains life to all. But more; He has control, he has the keys to life and death. Don't concern yourself as to my death. Didn't I raise Lazarus from the dead? So I too will rise from the dead. By his sacrifice and resurrection, Jesus has the power to give, bestow eternal life! Death implies God's wrath due to sin, separation from God and Hell. But life implies forgiveness, communion with God, being with God for all eternity.
All three of these attributes are active in Christ Jesus. The way brings us to God. The truth makes us free, and it brings fellowship and communion with God. However, the emphasis mainly on the way here. Jesus is saying I am the way, because I am the truth and the life.
Hence Jesus adds in his next breath "No one comes to the Father except through me." How profound and totally exclusive! In one statement Jesus rules out all other religions and ways to God. Only Jesus is the right way. Without him, there is no truth, there can be no life! Simple, but profound. Without Jesus, there is no way to the Father. There can be no forgiveness for sin, no pardon and no access.
What of you?
What way are you on? What path or road? Maybe you are on your own way, you think God will be favourable to you in the end. Are you thinking your life will stack up favourably when you meet God face to face in the end? Be warned. You may think you are on the right path, but unless it's following the path of Jesus, it is just one of many that will lead to death. Jesus also said this – its the same principle said in a different way. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matt 7:13-14)
Jesus is the narrow gate, and the only right way to the Father; to receive eternal life. There are two roads, one is a way to life and the other is the way to death. You can't go your own way, you can't do it yourself, otherwise, Jesus wouldn't have had to come! Good works cannot save you, being better than others cannot save you. Religion cannot save you. The knowledge taught by the whole world cannot save you! Why did He come to die on a cross, if you can save yourself! Why did God have to send his Son if there was any other way? Our sin has to be dealt with first! Our sin had to be nailed to the cross of Christ.
Thomas, in one sense, did know the way, or at least Jesus had revealed the way to them all over 3 years of ministry. They had not listened, they did not take it in. They did not pay significant attention to all his words, they had forgotten. I wonder, are you like Thomas? Is Jesus urging you, to come to him, and trust him? To worship, and adore him as Lord and saviour?
Phillip then asks another question, which many may ask today “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus is remarkably loving. He does not rebuke Thomas, or get angry. He says "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
The answer is 'look at me, Thomas! Look at me, and you will see the Father!.' Have you taken time to really look at Jesus? Read the gospels, go along to church, listen to the sermons preached! And again Jesus emphasises the need to believe! Believe me! Look at the works that I do! I raise the dead, I give a man blind from birth his sight. Believe in me! Believe on me! I am Jehovah Jesus! His words are true, words of life! You have the gospels. You can read for yourself of the wonderful works that Jesus did, the many signs and miracles which point to his true identity. Will you put all your worry, your doubts and troubles to one side and simply believe and trust in Jesus? Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. I trust that it may be so, to his glory.
Some may say: 'It's all very well saying to Phillip, "you have seen the Father", but Jesus is going away! How can that be a comfort?' Very briefly look down to John 15-21. Another reason why we shouldn't be troubled is this. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. It's another promise. An advocate, another helper will come, the Spirit of truth, who will be with you because he will be in you! Fellow Christian, we are never alone. The blessed third person of the Trinity is with us, and is in us!
John 14:23, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The Father and the Son will make their home with us? How? Just as the Father is in the Son, the Father and the Son are in the Spirit. As the Spirit lives in our hearts, so we have the Son and the Father with us! We are not left as orphans. There is much more we could say on the subject of theHoly Spirit, but that's another story.
Finally, in closing, Jesus says to us all "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27) Jesus has addressed and dealt with the issues we first raised at the very beginning. Let not your heart be troubled or afraid of current problems and future ones. Trust in him. Commit all your ways into his safekeeping, and ask for his peace to flood your own soul.
Feed your soul daily on...
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 1:12)
Truly, no-one has ever made such bold claims concerning themselves as Jesus! The question is, what did Jesus say about himself, and are they true or not? Is he mad, or in his right mind?
"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9)
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Amyand Park Chapel, Amyand Park Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3HY
Sunday Services at 11am and 6:30pm