Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Sir Walter Scott, when dying, said to his son-in-law, “Lockhart, read to me.” Lockhart asked, “What book?” “Why do you ask? There is but one book, the Bible.” Scott then asked his son-in-law to read from John 14, the comfort chapter, the Psalm 23 of the New Testament. From its first words, John 14 speaks peace.
John 14:1-2 (Holman) “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.”
Jesus wanted the disciples to enjoy peace, to not dwell on things that would disturb them emotionally, especially regarding their everlasting destiny.
By calling Heaven “My Father’s House,” Jesus added to it a lovely, gentle touch. We often think of Heaven primarily as golden streets, beautiful buildings, pearly gates, etc. To Jesus it was home, the place lit by the light of Dad’s smile.
“My Father’s House” softened for us the blow of death. This phrase let our race for the first time in recorded history dare to think of death as a homecoming.
Death is no more an ending than a beginning; no more a leaving than a coming home. We will feel at home in Heaven, and be able to relax. Bad tempers, crabby dispositions, tensions, fears of disappointing Jesus–all gone.
“My Father’s House” blesses us by also teaching us Heaven is a real place. It is not a make-believe realm of disembodied spirits, but a bustling city where God’s children love, celebrate, and live actively in strong indestructible forms. Heaven is a real place, an actual location. When Jesus left here, He went somewhere.
Jesus presented Himself unapologetically as the reliable Revealer of what Heaven is like. He spoke of it with authority, not speculation. He spoke as One who had lived in Heaven, not as one having second-hand information. He was like one who had stood on a mountain, and later told His valley friends what he saw.
What Jesus said of Heaven was not poetic language or philosophical conjecture. He was speaking to be understood literally. Jesus was too knowledgeable to be mistaken, too honest to misrepresent, and too kind to mislead.
John 14:3 “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.”
Jesus was leaving Earth to make it possible for believers to enter Heaven.
His Father’s house will someday be our house because Jesus prepared it for us.
The love that sent Jesus away to prepare us a place will also bring Him back someday for everyone. Till then, He comes to each of us at our death to guide us home.
Why does He do this? He wants us to be with Him—a precious thought. He wants us near Him. It feels good to feel wanted. It means we are special.
We may feel we know little about Heaven, but we know what we need to know to set our minds at ease. Jesus is there, and wants us to come live with Him.
John 14:4-5 “You know the way to where I am going.” “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”
Thomas didn’t know he knew. He knew Jesus; without realizing it, this was all he needed to know. Thomas did not yet appreciate all he had in Jesus. We often underestimate the value of what is ours in Christ. He’s the beauty our hearts desire.
Everything we need, and deep-down want, we find in Jesus, yet we meander far afield, seeking our heart’s desires elsewhere. We are like people searching everywhere for keys we previously put in our pocket, and for a diamond we already locked in our own safety deposit box.
John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus is the way to God. Christ presented Himself as the link between God and people. The two farthest apart objects in the Universe are pure God, who dwells in resplendent light, and sinners, who roam aimlessly in darkness. Jesus closes the gap, retrieving us from godless wanderings, from being spiritually lost.
Jesus not only made the way; He walks it with us. Sinners need more than to have the way to God pointed out. A person who tells us to go one block north, three blocks west, and turn right after the third house makes us feel more lost.
We need someone to say, “Follow me; I will show you the way.” By doing this, a person not only points out the way, but also becomes the way for us.
Jesus does this for us. He not only told us how to find God. He died in the past to prepare the way for us, comes in the present to take us by the hand to walk the way with us, and in the future will personally lead us home. Jesus is the way.
“Truth” refers to reality, to what is reliable. In our text, it highlights the complete dependability of Jesus in revealing to us the Father as He really is.
Jesus’ whole life, character, and personality depicted the one and only true living God. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). In Christ we no longer see God with blurred vision at a distance, but as Immanuel, God with us. An incarnation, an enfleshment, of Himself was the only possible form in which God, who is spirit, could adequately show Himself to a world of sinners. Intellectual concepts, words, and deeds could not by themselves teach us of God. For us to grasp what He is really like, Jesus had to come live among us as one of us.
Jesus brings to us truth, reliable information, about God. We were created to receive from Jesus dependable assessments of God. Aristotle said the eye was made for light, the ear was made for sound, and the mind was made to receive truth. We agree. The only qualifier is to know what truth really is. Human restlessness results when a mind does not receive the specific truth for which it was made. Augustine said we were made for God, and are restless till we rest in Him.
C.S. Lewis felt this inner restlessness evidenced God’s existence. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”
These longings for something beyond this world can be fulfilled in only one place, in what Jesus taught about Himself. His words spoke truth.
It is no coincidence Eden’s first temptation was a lie about God. Ever since, people have been deceived about God, erring often in their thoughts of Him.
Jesus is the ultimate test, the final appeals court to which all considerations about God must be referred. People who understand Christ’s teaching about God grasp divine reality. Jesus is the final, ultimate word, the reliable word, the truth.
Jesus is “the life.” Not only does He have to lead us to the Father as the way, and reveal the Father to us as the truth; Jesus also has to make us alive to the Father, because we are by nature spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
People spiritually dead cannot walk a way or understand a revealed truth, nor can they have a relationship. We have to be born again. Jesus has to give us spiritual life. By means of a new birth, He gives us the kind of life that can enter into a personal relationship with God, one that can grow, blossom, and flourish.
Mere physical existence is not the best life. The only life worthy of being called life is the one Jesus brings. All other kinds of life disintegrate and decay.
This ever improving type of life happens when Jesus Himself is planted in a person’s heart by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the life, the best life, the God life.
Don’t miss the somber truth in our text. If words have meaning, and are meant to be understood, Jesus’ statement here can mean only one thing. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Without Jesus the way, there is no going to God; without Jesus the truth, no knowing God; without Jesus the life, no growing in God. With Jesus the way, we go to God; with Jesus the truth, we know God; with Jesus the life, we grow in God. Through Jesus our Savior, we can have salvation.