“ I am the way, and the truth, and the life . No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Jesus speaks these words with his disciples in the upper room, just before he goes to Gethsemane where he will be betrayed and arrested. The story that follows shows Jesus being humiliated, tortured, and killed by sinful human beings, and Jesus knows that the disciples will have to face this terrible trial of their faith. He knows that they will fail, too.
But none of that has happened yet, when Jesus sits with his disciples during the Passover meal. So, Jesus prepares them for what is to come by telling them what he will do when he is gone. He tells them that he is going to prepare a place for them, and while he is gone, he will send the Holy Spirit to comfort them.
This prediction comes true when he ascends into heaven, which many in the church celebrate on May 25th. When Jesus goes up to sit at the right hand of the throne of God, he goes to claim the authority and power that the Father has handed to him. Jesus, the king of creation, rules over his kingdom from heaven until the day he returns to Earth with power and might. This is what Jesus has in mind when he tells the disciples, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Jesus Is The Way
Jesus is the only way to the Father. The word, “way,” is a translation of ὁδὸς ( hodos), which commonly means path or road. Jesus is the way to the Father. This was a common way of talking about Jesus for the first Christians. In the book of Acts, before Christians were first called Christians, we called ourselves, “the way.” Following Jesus means living in "the way," so our actions and life reflect his love to the world.
Obviously, Jesus Christ is not a literal road on which we must walk to get to the Father. There are no munchkins or yellow bricks for Jesus. St. Paul tells us that all Christian are “in Christ.” Since Jesus has ascended to heaven, being in him means we are with the Father. Because he is sitting at God’s right hand, we are, too.
Jesus Is The Truth
We all know what the word, “Truth,” means. It’s the opposite of a lie. It’s a way of describing how the world really works. It gives us a true understanding of life. When Jesus is on trial by Pontius Pilate, Jesus says, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). Pilate responds with a common question, “What is truth?”
It’s a common question, whether spoken by a Roman governor or by a contemporary philosopher. Truth, we are told, is relative, because we all have different “truths.” People say that, because no one has access to the truth without Jesus Christ. Without him, we do not know the Father and his role in Creation. Without Jesus, we cannot understand where we started and to where we are going.
Jesus, himself, is the truth. When we see him, we see the Father. When we understand Jesus, we understand the Father’s love for a fallen world. We see that truth most of all when we look at the savior who died on the cross. That act reveals God’s love for the world, but it also shows the severity of sin.
Jesus Is The Life
Jesus is also life. When Jesus goes to visit Lazarus, he finds that Lazarus had already died. As Mary and Martha gather to mourn, they face death, a problem we all must face eventually. Martha says to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Jesus’ response to her show’s God’s answer to the problem of death.
Jesus says, “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 11:25-26). He proves what he says by raising Lazarus from the dead. Moreover, he shows us that he is the life when he defeats his own death by rising from the grave.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and he promises resurrection for everyone who believes in him. The Letter to the Ephesians 2:5-6 says, “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is life for us, because our lives are safe in him. We are “in Christ,” and he is ascended into heaven. Jesus’ life is our life.
The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Before Jesus leaves the disciples, he gives them words of hope and comfort. He wants them to know that have the way, the truth, and the life when they see Jesus. Jesus is the only way to the Father. He is the truth of God’s love for the world. He is the life that comes despite death.
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