The Message of John (Lesson 19)
The way that leads to life | John 14:6
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Before the days of GPS, folks had to rely on maps, instinct, or the guidance from the guy in the gas station for navigational directions to their destination.
But what if there were a navigational conflict? Which way was the correct way? They couldn’t all be right?
That’s how religion is and has always been. Many maps promising the way of truth for finding eternal life.
In John 14:6, Jesus enters the fray, claiming, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In other words, there is only one way that is true and leads to life.
We may be tempted to think such an assertion of exclusivity is narrow-minded.
However, Jesus does not make this claim out of arrogance. He simply is stating a fundamental truth about the nature of God and the way in which sinners can be reconciled to him.
For example, if there were only one way to a vacation destination, we’d want to know. How frustrating it would be to wander all week without enjoying the park, or beach, or mountain. That’s why Jesus’ emphasis on an exclusive path to heaven is a gift for those who are humble enough to listen and believe.
The first part of Jesus’ statement, “I am the way,” is particularly significant. The Greek word for “way” is hodos (ὁδός), which also can be translated as “road” or “path.”
Jesus is not saying he is one of many possible paths to God. He declares himself to be the only path.
This is consistent with other statements that Jesus made during his ministry, such as when he said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved” (John 10:9).
The exclusivity of Jesus’ claim is emphasized by his use of the definite article “the” before the word “way.” Saying I am the way versus a way emphasizes that there is only one way, and that way is through him.
The second part of Jesus’ statement, “the truth,” reinforces the idea of exclusivity. Jesus does not claim merely to have knowledge about God or to be a wise teacher. He is the embodiment of truth itself. He is the life GPS we can trust for reliable directions.
The final part of Jesus’ statement, “the life,” perhaps is the most significant of all. Jesus is not simply offering a way to know about God now; he is offering eternal life—a way to be in the presence of God’s joy, peace, and rest forever.
This is the deep desire of every human being, and yet is something that cannot be attained through any other means than by the person and work of Christ.
As the Scriptures teach us, we’re all alienated from God as enemies by our sin, and there is nothing that we can do to bridge that gap on our own. We cannot earn our way into God’s presence through good works or religious rituals. The only way to be reconciled to God is through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
While the bridge between God and humanity was burned in the garden of Eden, it has been rebuilt with a cross.
Jesus’ death on the cross was not simply a random act of violence. It was a deliberate and necessary sacrifice that made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to God.
In addition to his sacrificial death, Jesus’ resurrection is proof that he was who he claimed to be, and that his sacrifice was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins, provide us righteousness, and fit us for heaven as beloved children of God.
How did people navigate before GPS? What were some of the challenges they faced?
How is Jesus' assertion in John 14:6 like a GPS from heaven?
Why do you think some people find this claim narrow-minded or offensive?
How would you respond to someone who disagrees with Jesus' claim?
How does Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection provide a bridge between God and humanity?
Dear Lord Jesus,
You are the way, the truth, and the life.
Yet we confess that we often try to navigate life on our own, relying on our own thoughts and emotions or the guidance of others. But we know that only you can lead us with truth in a way that leads to life, peace, joy, and hope.
Jesus, we thank you for the sacrifice of the cross that is our bridge of grace reconciling us to the Father.
Please give us the courage to follow your ways, even when the path is difficult or unpopular. Help us to live our lives in a way that honors you.
We pray all of this in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.