Summary: Jesus is the unique and only way to God [period].
Last July the BBC news reported on how a couple from Sweden typed Carpi into their GPS when they meant Capri. Their GPS did what it was suppose to and took them 400 miles off course. A tourism official in Carpi said, "Capri is an island. They did not even wonder why they didn’t cross a bridge or take any boat. Once they realized their mistake, the couple got back in their car and headed south."1
John 14 is a watershed chapter for us because it draws a line of distinction with which few enjoy dealing. I am not drawn to arguments about Islam or another world religion vs. Christianity. Instead my first thought is about Frank Sinatra and his signature song "My Way." It is perhaps the best expression of the satanic lie that Jesus isn’t the only way.
Imagine standing before God’s throne and saying:
And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way...
For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes it was my way
What a sad, sad statement of faith for to do things "my way" or "our way" in effect tells God we are most important. It confirms the sin present since Genesis 3 and affirms our own choices to, as Isaiah says, "go astray" like sheep wandering off.
This isn’t about great theological truth but about comforting his disciples. They have shared a final meal and one of them is going to betray Jesus. Peter is told he’s going to deny Jesus. All in all it has been a pretty lousy evening. So Jesus commands them to "stop allowing their hearts to be in turmoil". Instead they are to believe, to continue to believe in God and consequently himself.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by turmoil, a sense of perplexity, agitation or confused? I have and so have many of you. He’s not talking about sadness or depression. Jesus is helping them face a theological separation anxiety, a sense that things are spiraling out of their control. They and we will find the answer in trust and reliance on our God, who is Father; who loves us; who prepares a place for us and who promises to return so we may be with him. The reunion is already in the planning stage for this group and their Lord.
The expression in verse 7 is probably not a rebuke. You are beginning to experience the truth of whom I am and you’ll do it better because you’re stating to grasp the fact that the Father and I are the same. Then he clearly tells Philip, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me?"
But the key to grasping who Jesus is comes in verse 6. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." NIV It is no mistake "the" is used before each word. In fact, many people I’ve run into would prefer it to say, "I am a way, a truth and a life" but that isn’t an option.
Let’s look at these quickly. Jesus is the way. He’s not just a guide pointing toward where we should struggle to go. Jesus is the way. He just doesn’t teach about it. The reason why Jesus can teach and guide us is because he is THE way. Jesus is the way creation becomes what it was created to be in Genesis.
No amount of wind power, decrease in CO2, international agreements or hybrid cars will restore creation. Jesus has already done that by dying in the place of each us for the sins we’ve committed.
Jesus is also the truth. He is the final answer. Not only is he superior to every law and prophet who has come before (see Hebrews 1 and 2) but he is the very embodiment of what God’s means of redeeming us. I did a paper on Lord Byron in my 12th grade English class. Part of the assignment was to turn in a bibliography list of at 10 sources. I was frustrated because I found a copy of The Complete Works of Byron and Byron, a 3-volume biography, to which everything else I found pointed. Fortunately Miss Best understood that I had found the "truth", the ultimate sources for my report.
Jesus is the life. I’ve mentioned that, First Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas has a huge window in the front of their sanctuary which has on it "I am the way, the truth and the light". It’s pretty amazing but if you type in that phrase you’ll get over 16k hits on Google. Jesus is the light of the world but in our context, with Jesus facing death as he’s plainly told his disciples, he is the LIFE.