Summary: Jesus answers the fundamental questions of life: Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?
I AM series #6
I AM the Way the Truth and the Life
Scripture Reading: John 14:1-6
Of all the I AM statements Jesus made, this one is the most controversial to the postmodern world in which we live. Folks today are willing to see Jesus as “A way, a truth, and a life” but not as “the way, the truth, and the life.” Our pluralistic culture cannot abide Jesus saying that he is the only way to the Father. We need to understand why he said that, and what it means for us.
Jesus told his 12 apostles “I am the way, the truth and the life” at the Last Supper. During the meal, Jesus was making some important final words to his men. Jesus was preparing them for his coming death, but they didn’t understand what he was saying,
In chapter 13:33 he said “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. Peter (who was never afraid to ask the obvious) said, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter insisted He would follow Jesus anywhere; Jesus told Peter that he would deny him 3 times before morning. All through the Last Supper and into the Garden where Jesus prayed before his arrest we notice two things about Jesus disciples:
· They understood that Jesus was troubled and under great pressure. They wanted desperately to reassure Him that they would be loyal no matter what happened.
· They did NOT understand what Jesus was telling them about his upcoming arrest, torture, trials, and death. They couldn’t get it --- or maybe they just didn’t want to get it. It was unthinkable that the Messiah they had waited for so long would die before he could establish His kingdom.
They had another reason to resist the predictions Jesus was making. They were concerned --- not only that Jesus might be killed --- but that they might be killed along with him. When Jesus said, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” He was trying to reassure them that they would not be killed by the Jews at the time of his death.
Sadly, they understood nothing about what he was attempting to explain to them. The more He talked of going away to a place where they would follow later, the more frustrated they became. Was He going to Galilee? To Samaria? Was he going to hide from the Jewish Leaders in the desert, or maybe in Egypt? Finally, in exasperation, Thomas summed up the feelings of the whole group. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?”
Jesus used that one desperate question to answer all the questions of desperate people throughout the ages. His response was not detailed, but it was personal. His solution was not a recipe; it is a relationship. (Frank Gaebelein) Jesus didn’t just claim to know the way, the truth and the life as some kind of formula or philosophy. He claimed to BE the way, the truth, and the life. He actually claimed to be the answer to human problems.
In that statement, Jesus answered the questions that every person eventually asks about life. It is common to all people that we long for purpose and meaning. Any thinking person will eventually ask some fundamental questions about life.
One question people tend to ask is Where am I going? Many people ask that question over and over in life without ever finding an answer that lasts. They are going to get a degree or to get a promotion or to take a dream vacation or buy a dream house. But as every temporary goal is attained the question remains: Where am I going? To that question, Jesus answers: I AM the Way.
1. Where am I going? I AM the Way
Jesus was telling the apostles that where He is going is ultimately where they are going. He was talking about Heaven --- the ultimate destination for every believer. In John 14:2 He said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” The Greek word translated “rooms” actually comes from a verb that means “abide” or “remain.” This is not a temporary shelter. It is a place that continually abides and that remains for all eternity.
Speaking of Heaven, I like this quote from D.L. Moody. He said, “We believe it is just as much an actual place as New York City, and a good deal more; because New York will pass away, while the heavenly city will abide forever. It has foundations whose builder and maker is God.” (Classic Sermons on heaven and Hell; Wiersbe, p. 9)