The Way, Truth, and the Life

Categories: Brother to Brother.

Apr 24, 2017 // By:Dave // No Comment

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. This is a commonly quoted verse (among many) as directly spoken by Jesus in John 14:6. I would like to unpack this quote and see what deeper applications it contains and how these may (should) apply to us in our daily lives.

in greek:
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι’ ἐμοῦ.

in a literal translation it comes out to:
spoke to him Jesus, I am the single path, and the unveiling of the hidden, and the way of living; not a single person can come before or to the Father except because of or through me.

Now lets stop and look at the context of His answer. His reply is part of a conversation with his disciples (namely Peter, then Thomas, and later Philip).

Let’s backup to John 13:36 where Peter asks Jesus where He is going and Jesus tells him that he cannot follow Him now, but only later. In John 13:37 Peter replies that he wants to follow and boasts that he will lay down his life for Him. John 13:38 shows Jesus questioning his boast and tells him that he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows.

John 14:1-4 shows Jesus reminding the men to believe, not be troubled, that He is going to prepare a place for them and that He will come back for them (tying in the traditional jewish engagement and marriage customs of groom to bride as He is the groom and we (along with the disciples) are the bride), and that they know the way where He is going.

In John 14:5 we see Thomas saying that they DON’T know the way.

Jesus replies in verse 6 by saying basically “I am standing right in front of you. How can you say you dont know the way when you have seen me and heard my words all this time you have been with me?” (I get this from John 14:7 and Jesus’ reply to Phillip in John 14:9)

Easton’s Bible Commentary had this to say:
… verses 1-4 not only contain Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question but also indicate an attempt on Jesus’ part to return to the theme of the discourse he had first begun. He assumed that they knew the way to their destination; all they would need to do would be to follow the road. His sheep would follow him and find “the house of the Lord” at the end of their journey (Ps 23:6; John 10:27-28).

This reinforces the obvious misunderstanding on the part of the disciples. It clarifies to us that their focus is on the wrong part of their relationship and obedience to the Master.

They want to know where the destination is; the end of the road, but Jesus is saying “follow me” or “just walk down the road you see me walking and walk with me“.

Mark 1:17 shows this same statement given at the beginning of His ministry when answering Simon and Andrew (while Mark 1:19 shows the same invitation given to James and John. (See also Matt 16:24, Matt 19:21, Luke 9:23, Luke 18:22 to notice that this theme of invitation was given throughout His ministry)

Jesus invites us to simply walk with Him (on the road of life) and not worry about the final destination.

His invitation is a conditional promise: <IF> <THEN> (<IF> you follow me <THEN> I will make you a fisher of men and you will enter the kingdom of heaven) (whoever you are, or whatever you are doing, He invites you to “come and follow”)

How often we, like these disciples, miss the point of what God is currently up to because our focus is too far ahead (trying to figure out God’s plan) instead of what is happening right in the moment.

We walk down the road with our eyes narrowed to focus on the distant horizon to figure out what is far ahead, and walk right past the person on the side of the road with hand outstretched, begging for help or hope.

We are not walking with Jesus, we are trying to walk ahead of Him and lead Him along our path. This should not be so.

He calls us to walk in step with Him and be able to pay attention to:

  • the woman touching his robe (Matt 9:19-22)
  • the small tax collector who climbed a tree just to see Him (Luke 19:1-10)
  • and follow when the road goes “out of the way” intentionally, but without explanation, to meet a thirsty woman at a well who would become an evangelist ! (John 4:4-29)

The early believers called themselves “followers of the way” (before they got the nickname “christians”). Perhaps the first name does a better job reminding us of what our walk should look like ?  “Christian” seems to be too often translated into focusing on the final destination for the believer and merely means “a moral person” to the average non-believer.

Let us be FOLLOWERS of the WAY, focusing on what Jesus is doing in the here and now, hearing His voice in the here and now, and loving those around us … yes, in the here and now. 🙂  blessings to you and yours.

εν διακονια τω θεω, Dave Cadieux

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