Summary: Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life, but what does that really mean? The Greek has a few hidden truths to consider. We are to follow Jesus, but what is The Way ?
Jesus is the Way
The idea of the Way is something I can remember growing up with. Throughout my childhood, I heard the phrase. Our church had banners with the phrase “Jesus is the Way”. We had a Lutheran Youth Fellowship meeting that was called “The Way”. All around, I found references to the Way. We all took this to mean following Jesus. But, it was never quite explained that way. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at this very popular Bible text. We’re going to take a more in depth look at what Jesus meant by the way and what it should be saying to us today. The way is not something from long ago, it’s something that lives today.
The Way is true and Living
Jesus is The Way
The idea of Jesus being ‘the way” can not be looked at entirely without examining what the Greek behind it says. I don’t plan on turning this into a Greek lesson, but there are inherit things with language that must be understood. Every language has it’s figures of speech that it uses to explain things. However, translated directly, they don’t mean the same thing. For example, in English, we have an expression called a “baker’s dozen.” This is not a reference to 12 of something owned by a baker. Instead, this is a reference to the number 13. We have another expression that sets other pictures in peoples mind. American’s can do things with their “hair on fire.” This does not mean that we have to call the fire department, but that it’s being done in a hurry. Someone who speaks a different language might not understand these expressions this way. They may wonder what baked good have to do with the discussion or how long it will take to put out the flames. These simple phrases can be misunderstood if translated directly. Instead, we have to understand the figures of speech as well as the language.
In John 14:6, we find a figure of speak in the Greek. But, this doesn’t translate into English very well. Earlier I read this passage from the New King James version. This passage read: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. However, other English versions read “I am the way AND the truth and the life.” In English, the extra AND doesn’t seem to add anything. It seems redundant. However, this is not the case in the Greek. There is an expression in Greek which involved this phrase. The way, truth and life are not co-equal terms. Instead, truth and life describe what the way is. The Concordia Study Bible said it this way “I am the way [to the father] in that I am the truth and the life.” The difference is subtle, but it is there all the same.
The question then becomes, what is the way that Jesus talks about? The literal definition of “way” is a path, a road, or even a journey. It is a means of getting from one place to another. It is a progression from something, to something else. It is the method we need to travel to get from one point in our lives to another. By nature, we are sinful men and women who know how to do wrong. Jesus is the example that is “the way” that we must follow. He is the Christian faith and the manner in which we lead our lives. It is the decisions that we make and the direction that our lives take. In all respects, it is the road that we follow through our own lives. We have the capability to decide what we will do and what we won’t do. We have the opportunity to follow Christ, or to follow our own desires.