Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:5-6)
Today’s text contains the sixth of the seven “I Am” statements the Apostle John recorded Jesus saying. The previous statements are found in John 6:35, 8:12, 10:7-9, 10:11-14, 11:25. The seventh is found in 15:1-5. This sixth “I Am” statement is arguably the most familiar of the seven.
Jesus informed His disciples while they are celebrating the Passover meal that He was going away (John 13:31-38). He informed them that He was going away in order to prepare an eternal dwelling place for them and all other believers (John 14:1-3). He even declared to them that they knew where He was going and how to get there.
Obviously, Jesus was teaching about heaven and going to God the Father. However, the disciples did not understand and grasp the significance of Jesus’ words. They were thinking literally. Thomas indicated this by his own words. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
This was the occasion in which Jesus made the following statement. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus does not refer to any other authority other than Himself when He makes this declaration concerning His identity.
Jesus said, “I Am the way…” Jesus used the same structural phrase (ἐγώ εἰμί; ego eimi) as previously noted by the apostle in five previous statements. He identified Himself as Yahweh, the self-existent God (Exodus 3:1-14). He then added the words “the way.” It is an emphatic structural form indicating that Jesus is the only road, path or thoroughfare to God.
Jesus then said, “I Am the truth…” At the same time that He is the way, Jesus is also the truth. This refers to that which is real or that which corresponds to reality. He is truly God and what He says is true and real about how to be reconciled to God.
Thirdly, Jesus said, “I Am the life…” At the same time that He is the way, and the truth, Jesus is also the life. Jesus is the only way to truly be alive: physically, spiritually and eternally. He is not only the source of life but also the only way to truly experience life as it was meant to be lived: in fellowship with God the creator and sustainer of life.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “This is the sixth “I am” statement of Jesus in John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5). In response to Thomas’s query (14:4), Jesus declared that he is the way to God because he is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25). In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e., Jesus Christ.”
Dr. R.C. Sproul writes, “The only way to get to heaven, the only way to be reconciled to God, is through Jesus. So, while the disciples do not yet fully know where Jesus is going, they know the way to get there because in knowing and belonging to Jesus they will be taken to the Father as well. This point is confirmed in John 14:6, which features one of the most important teachings regarding our salvation in all of Scripture. Jesus proclaims Himself as the way, the truth, and the life—the only way to the Father. Here we read perhaps the boldest declaration of the exclusivity of Christ ever spoken. There are no alternatives for redemption other than Jesus; only He can reconcile us to the Father.”
John Calvin comments that “if any man turn aside from Christ, he will do nothing but go astray; if any man do not rest on him, he will feed elsewhere on nothing but wind and vanity; if any man, not satisfied with him alone, wishes to go farther, he will find death instead of life.”
Finally, Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” This statement is known as a universal negative. There are no exceptions in coming to God the Father except by faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only source of life in all of its forms.
I recall an individual telling me once that there were many ways to get to the City of Detroit. You chose the way which you prefer. He then stated that it was the same with God. There were many ways to get to God. You choose the way you prefer. No one way is better than any other way to get to heaven. They are all equal.
The image of the wagon wheel comes to mind. Imagine the outer diameter of the wheel represents humanity. The inner hub represents God. The spokes, which are all of equal length, connect the outer rim to the inner hub. The spokes symbolize all the different, but equal, ways to get to God.
However, we must never deny the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. This is what Jesus taught. This is what the Bible teaches (John 10:7-9; Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12).
Let us resolve to never compromise this truth regarding the exclusivity of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Soli deo Gloria!