Summary: Jesus is the how, why and what of salvation.
Knowing what was to come, Jesus sought to prepare His disciples for the cross. Jesus had told His disciples that He was going to the Father who had sent Him, but they did not understand. Even less did they understand the way by which Jesus would be going; the way of the cross. At this moment, the disciples were bewildered men.
Among them however, was one who refused to remain bewildered. His name was Thomas. Thomas was too honest and far too earnest to pretend he understood when he did not. So, after Jesus had once again spoke of His going away and of the fact that they should know the way to where He was going, Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (v. 5).
It is important to note it was the question of a doubter that brought about one of the greatest statements ever uttered by our Lord. Never be afraid to express your doubts. Doubts honestly expressed lead to truth ultimately discovered! And what a precious truth our Lord declared!
Jesus said . . .
1. I am the Way.
In saying, “I am the way,” Jesus was declaring that as men walked with Him, they would rightly relate to the Father.
Suppose we are in a strange town and ask directions, and we are told, “Take the first to the right, and the second to the left. Cross the square, go past the church, take the third on the right and the road you want is the fourth on the left.” No doubt, we will get lost. But suppose the person says: “Here, I’ll take you there.” In that case that person becomes our way. That is what Jesus does for us. He does not tell us about the way; He is our Way.
So it is that Jesus tells us that He is the “How” of salvation. If I am to be sure that I rightly relate to the Father, then Jesus is how I make sure. In the illustration we just considered, what do we say about a person who is trying to reach a destination but is confused and unable to reach it? They are lost. But what will never be true of person who depends on One who takes them to the destination they are seeking? They will never be lost. Why? Because of the dependability of the One who journeys with them.
When we trust Christ and open our lives up to Him, He will never abandon us, but will see us safely into the loving presence of our heavenly Father. We will never be lost, not because we are good at following directions, but because of the reliability and dependability of the One who is with us on our journey into eternity.
2. I am the Truth.
But only one man ever embodied the truth. Many a man could say, “I want to teach you truth,” but only Jesus could say, “I am the truth.”
Truth is the standard by which all things are measured. That is what Jesus is telling us here. He is the Truth. He is God’s standard by which we are measured. If we are to have a right relationship with the Father, we must meet His standard.
Webster’s Dictionary says that one definition of “true” is: “being conformable to a standard or pattern.” Jesus is the “truth,” that is, He is the standard or pattern by which we are measured; and we have been found to not be “true.”
This brings up the point that Jesus is not only the “How” of salvation; He is the “Why” of salvation.
Only the Lord Jesus, with His sinless life, has lived in such a way as to be true to God’s standard of righteousness. By contrast, no matter how we might try to live true to God’s standard of righteousness, we will inevitably fail because of all that is within us that is untrue and sinful. That is the truth that the sinless life of Christ confronts us with. We are both guilty and justifiably condemned because of our sin.
“Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: ‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.’” - Romans 3:4 (NIV)
Because we are guilty and condemned, and can do nothing on our own to change things, we need a Savior. The One who is the Truth, the one who is the personification of the righteous life that God requires, has resolved the problem of our untruthfulness and unrighteousness by accepting the punishment we deserve in our place. Because He is the Truth, that is, because of his sinless life, He was uniquely qualified to offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice on our behalf for our sins.