“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – Jesus (John 14:6)
Most followers of Jesus are familiar with this verse. It’s commonly read in churches. However we often miss the significance and richness of what Jesus is actually teaching us.
In this blog post I want to dive deeper in the John 14:6 meaning and how it applies to our life.
The Context Of John 14:6
To understand the context of “I am the way the truth and the life” we need to start in the previous chapter.
In John 13 Jesus is predicting his death and the disciples simply don’t understand. Peter is asking a bunch of questions and is clearly confused. Finally asking, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?” John 13:37
This was only one of many questions the disciples asked Jesus, and it shows their bewilderment and discouragement. And in John 14 Jesus begins to comfort them and clarify what will happen.
In John 14:1-4 Jesus starts explaining that he is preparing a place for them. This isn’t the first time Jesus has spoken about this death, resurrection, and his preparation for his followers. As he’s explaining this again, he’s probably reflecting on the previous conversations they’ve had.
But they still don’t get it; they are still confused. And this time Thomas is the one who speaks up.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” John 14:5
The father’s house did not clearly identify heaven to them. And they didn’t understand where Jesus was going and how they could get there. Thomas’ question is an ask for an unambiguous explanation of Jesus’ and their destination. The disciples want to know where Jesus is going and how they can go with him.
And with that request Jesus gives this now famous verse in response.
What “I Am The WAY The TRUTH And The LIFE” Means
Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7
Jesus Christ doesn’t exactly give a straight answer. After all he’s plainly said at least three times that he would die and rise again (Mark 8:31-32, Mark 9:30:32, and Mark 10:32-34). The problem is the disciples have preconceived notions of who the Messiah would be and what he would do. And they just cannot interpret his words literally.
Let’s break each of the ways Jesus describes himself so that we can understand what Jesus’ words “I am the way the truth and the life” actually mean.
We miss the intensity of these two simple words in our reading of this text today. This was a statement of exclusivity. Jesus is saying that it is through me and ONLY me that the following happens.
This isn’t the only time Jesus uses “I am” to describe himself; there’s a total of 7 in the book of John alone (John 6:48; John 8:12; John 10:9; John 10:11; John 11:25; John 15:1).
By saying “I am,” Jesus was claiming he is the true God. The Jews clearly understood Jesus was quoting Exodus 3:6 and that he was claiming divinity. One time they got so mad at Jesus saying this that they picked up stones to kill him (Matthew 22:32).
“I am” is a name of power and authority. Jesus is claiming God and that the following is only possible THROUGH him.
Jesus isn’t claiming to be A way. He’s claiming to be THE way. The disciples in this moment are confused about where he was going and Jesus is reiterating his original command, “follow me.”
Jesus is saying that the only path to life, to salvation, is through him. All the paths will not lead to the abundant life that we are searching for.
Again, Jesus isn’t claiming to be a truth. Rather THE truth. Jesus isn’t not only true, he is truth itself.
There are lots of other people and religions claiming to have the truth. Jesus is making another exclusive claim here. He embodies all things that are true. This truth has saving significance. Jesus has done for us what we are incapable of doing for ourselves.
The John 14:6 meaning is that Jesus is THE truth.
Jesus gives us a way to find life that is diametrically opposed to what the world tells us. The world tells us that the good life is found in appeasing our own desires. Preserving ourselves. In contrast Jesus says the good life is found when we lay down our life. And soon he will lead by example.
Jesus is both life and the source of life. That it is through him, and him alone, that the good life is found.
When Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life” he was not saying that he was one way to God among many. He makes that clear by saying “no one comes to the father except through me.” This is an exclusive claim to be the only way to eternal life.
Even with this answer the disciples still didn’t yet understand. But can we blame them? We know what Jesus has done on the cross. They hadn’t yet experienced that. Once they understood the truth of Jesus’ words they changed and they went on to change the world.
The power of these words are still true for us today. When we fully understand them and live them out we too can change the world. I want to end by helping you apply this passage in God’s Word to your life.
How To Apply The John 14:6 Meaning To Your Life
When Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life” he showing us what we should concern ourselves with. What’s really important. If we aren’t careful we will end chasing things that are not important or meaningful.
This passage is a reminder and a challenge to chase after what matters, what will have an eternal impact. This is a life of meaning and significance.
Jesus is inviting you into a richer, beautiful, and better life. You will have to die to your old life and that’s not easy. But in return you get something far better. True life. It’s a life that is only found in him that we could never find on our own.
Let me end my giving you three reflection questions to help you apply the John 14:6 meaning to your life and how you can step into the life Jesus has for you.
1. What Direction Is My Life Heading?
You will not end up where you want to go if you don’t intentionally set the course for your life. Each of us need to occasionally pause and look at where we are going. When we head in the wrong direction we shouldn’t be surprised when we end up at the wrong destination.
If you want a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, and goodness then you need to set your direction toward Jesus. The way to this life is found in no one but Jesus.
So ask yourself, what direction is my life heading? And if you find that you are heading in the wrong direction reset your direction. In other words repent.
2. Where Do I Get My Truth From?
There’s no shortage of voices telling you “truth.” And if you aren’t careful these voices will become the TRUTH of your life. If something or someone other than Jesus is defining truth for you it will only let you down.
Jesus claims to be THE truth. Is he where you get your truth from? Because all other wells will leave you thirstier and thirstier. Jesus is the only one who can truly satisfy.
3. What Do I Think I Need To Have A Good Life?
Don’t give what you think is the right answer, answer honestly. Look at what you go after in your life. What you think about, dream about, what you are constantly trying to get.
What do you think you need to have a good life? Money, sex, him/her, good job, nice house, vacations, more toys, nicer cars, fun hobbies, lots of friends, power, fame… What is it?
We tend to think the good life is found in something other than Jesus. The problem is all those things will only let us down. They can’t deliver what they promise. They satisfy for a moment, but that moment quickly fades and we need more.
Jesus has a better way. He shows us that the good life is found in him alone. So if you find you are prioritizing something over Jesus, refocus your life. Call out the lies you’ve bought into that you need “x” to be happy.
Spend a few minutes reflecting on these questions. Set the course of your life to the one who says, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s in him alone that we can find true life.
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