The story really begins back in John 13. We need to go back and see the story and then see what Jesus means. The story begins back in John 13 following the washing of the feet of His disciples. Following that great event Jesus then identifies the one who will betray Him. Then, He proceeds to tell Peter how he will deny Him. Those events had to be simply overwhelming to His disciples. But, what He is about to tell them is going to be more overwhelming to them.
These disciples do not want to hear about His death (John 12:23;13:31). They do not want to listen to Him talking about departing from them (John 13:33). They are okay with love but not now. Certainly, Peter did not believe or even want to consider the matter of denying Him.
Now He drops the news on them. “I am going away and where I am going you cannot come. “Don’t worry though, I am not going not to leave you alone. I will come again and where I am there I will receive you.” Their response is, “You are going where we can’t follow You? That is not right.” He then says, “Oh, you can follow Me, but not now, a little later.” In other words, I am not going to forget you or forsake you. He seeks to comfort them that all they have invested with Him will not be overlooked, forgotten or wasted. He is assuring them of their place with Him. Then, Thomas says, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus says to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father except through me.”
In the Old Testament they had a Tabernacle, and later a Temple. There was a Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle where the Ark and the Presence of God was found. It was kept in total darkness. It was kept completely private. One man, the high priest, could enter once a year, and only under the most ridged circumstances.
The idea was to give the impression to people of God’s remote, distinct holiness. That you don’t just wander into His presence, laughing, and telling jokes. But He is holy and removed from sin. And the only way the high priest could go into His Holy Presence is if there had been sacrifice for sin.
Now then, when they built the temple there was a great heavy curtain dividing the Most Holy Place. The moment Jesus died the curtain into the Most Holy Place was ripped from top to bottom. Symbolically demonstrating the fact that now the Most Holy Place was open, not through the blood of all kinds of sacrifices, but through the death of Christ. And Christ, through His death, is the “way” into the presence and fellowship with the Father.
Two things people want to know at some point in their lives, “How can you find God?” and “How can you have fellowship with God?” The answer is, “I Am the “way” into God’s presence. I Am the “way” into fellowship with God.” Through His death the barrier that keeps me from a holy God, my sin, is done away with, and through Christ I can find myself in the Father’s presence.
The question is, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus answers, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
“I am the way” and I have opened the Way. Through Me and in Me you can have access to Him. I am the “way” to the Father. He bridges the “way.” What comfort it must have been to His disciples to hear that. What comfort it is to us to know Jesus is the way. They said, “We want to go where you are going.” Jesus is going to the Father. They want to see the Father. Jesus said, “When you see Me you have seen the Father.” The way to the Father is though Me. Having seen me you will know Him and know the way. All I have been teaching and demonstrating to you is the way to Him. So, how can you say “Show us the Father?”
Further, “I am the truth.” He has just promised His disciples they will be where He is. That is the truth. There is certainty in that truth. I will not forget you. I will open the way to the Father. You can count on that truth. In order for Jesus to be crowned King and open His kingdom for all, He will use these men to tell His message. He is reassuring them they will have a big part in establishing and spreading that message of the kingdom. There is only one “way” to the Father. That will be through the “truth” you speak about Me, He assures them. “I am the truth,” you will share that “truth” and all will come to the Father through Me. I am the “way.” There is no other way and no other “truth.”
Then, “I am the life.” If Jesus is the only “way,” and the only “way” they can have access and fellowship with the Father is through Him being the “I Am “truth,” what will be the results? The results will be “life.” “I have come to give life.” His disciples do not understand this crucifixion business He has been talking about. Now they do not understand why He is going away. What about our life? Jesus says, “Don’t worry, I Am the life. You will be my ambassadors and you will speak the ‘way’ through the ‘truth.’ ” As a result all will have life and that abundantly.
Therefore the real sense of the passage is, “I Am the way, true and living.” Though we have parsed the passage to make three points, there is really only point. Jesus is the way, the true and living way to the Father. There is no other way to the Father.
I know that this passage is most often spoken of Jesus going to prepare heaven that will have many mansions. I believe that is a truth. But, the import of this passage is not on Jesus preparing heaven with many mansions. He is reassuring His apostles of their place in the Kingdom and their role. He reassures them they have a place. He is not going to leave them. He will send the Comforter. He tells them they will be His mouth piece for all to know the “way, that is true and living.” Your place in My kingdom is certain. In other words, “Lo, I am with you always.”
Peter then will preach, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
by Rickie Jenkins