Jesus said…”I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6) This is a familiar verse to Christians, but do we really understand all that Jesus meant by this remarkable claim? First of all, He is “the way”. This word commonly implies a path or course of direction, and the first Biblical mention of “way” is found in Genesis 3:24, referring to “the way to the tree of life.” Notice that Jesus wasn’t merely offering to show the way, but was stating that He IS the direction in which we must go. Go where? What is the destination we are to seek? The context of John 14:6 is Jesus’ assurance to His disciples that He is going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them, and will return for them. It is only possible to reach the Father’s “house” by following Him, which He succinctly states in the second half of His sentence. It is only through belief in the atoning work of Christ on Calvary that sinners can be granted access to a holy and righteous God, for: “we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through…His flesh”. (Hebrews 10:19,20)
Jesus is not only the direction we must take to the Father, but also to “the tree of life”. Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) The Apostle John later expounded upon that statement by explaining: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)
As if that weren’t enough, God became man, not only to give us eternal life, but also to teach us or model for us how to live, and the word “way” also implies this. Interestingly, the second Biblical use of this word is in Genesis 6:12: “for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” In this context the word doesn’t mean direction, but course of life or habitual manner – the “how ” of living. Jesus is not only the pathway to the Father, and the course necessary to obtain eternal life, but He is also the complete fulfillment of life. He is how to live. As Paul said: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me”. (Galatians 2:20) Jesus is the way to perfection. Adam was created in the image of God, but sin has marred and warped that perfection. But Paul explains that for the believer: “you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3,4)
For we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory”. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
As with the word “way”, the word “truth” also has more than one connotation. For one thing, when Jesus claimed to be “the truth”, He was contrasting Himself to all that is false, mistaken, erroneous, and untrue. John tells us that we are to “know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 John 2:21,22) In other words, the truth is that Jesus is the one and only means by which we can be saved. The Bible also tells us: “God is not a man, that He should lie; nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”(Numbers 23:19)
The Hebrew word used for “repent” literally means to sigh, implying to be sorry. God cannot be sorry with regards to what He says because He cannot lie. It is impossible for Him to be wrong since He is all-knowing. And since He does not change, He cannot be false or untrue to His nature. While we find it all too easy to be mistaken, or in error, or behave “out of character”, or even tell a lie, none of these things are possible for God. So, in claiming to be “the truth”, Jesus was clearly stating that He is God. He was also declaring Himself to be genuine and authentic, as opposed to all that is unreal and fake. He cannot deceive. He doesn’t conceal or shield Himself from those who truly want to know Him. He doesn’t play games, or wear a mask, or pretend. There is nothing “Hollywood” about Jesus! He is a transparency of the Father, as He Himself said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”. (John 14:9; see also 1 John 5:20)
Colossians 1:15-17 says that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He has existed prior to all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Jesus proclaimed Himself to be “the life” because He is the Author and Source of all that exists – physical and spiritual, temporal and eternal. “All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:3,4) Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live [spiritually] even if he dies [physically], and everyone who lives [physically] and believes in Me shall never die [spiritually].” (John 11:25,26)
Moreover, Jesus is the reason for our existence; for He said: “because I live, you shall live also.” (John 14:19) “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” (John 6:57) And as Paul said: “to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21); “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Without Jesus, then, there is no meaningful, lasting life. For He is the direction in which we must go; the reality that we must know; and the purpose for our existence. Life truly is all about Jesus!