The Way, The Truth, and the Life
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one come to the Father except through me” John 14:6). With this “I Am” statement we continue our meditation on the seven times that Jesus uses this appellation for himself in John’s gospel. This 14th chapter of the gospel is remarkable for the fact that it reveals the Trinitarian Oneness of God to us. In this chapter, we are at the very core of our faith as Christians. Jesus makes this statement in the context of the Last Supper dialogue. He is essentially giving his final lesson to the Apostles revealing the fullness of who he is to them. And still, they do not quite get it. We can see this in the question Thomas, that beloved Apostle who reminds us so much of ourselves, asks, and in Philip’s statement.
Jesus has told them that the time has come when he must return to the Father. He has told them about his Father’s house and its many mansions and he says to them, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” This is a rare reference to the parousia in John’s gospel, that is, the Second Coming. Then he says, “Where I am going you know the way” (verses 2-4). It is then that Thomas asks his question: “Master, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way” (verse 5)? And Jesus says to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus tells Thomas and the others that if they really know him they will also know the Father.
Then Philip, still not getting it fully, says to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (verse 8). In my mind, I see Jesus, the ever-patient teacher, sighing deeply at the slowness of his students, then saying to them: “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? He reiterates to them that, ” Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (verses 9). Then he really puts the finishing touches on the lesson when he asks them, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (verse 10)? This is the heart of the Trinitarian doctrine. This is the Truth and Jesus is the way to that truth. This admonition is directed at us as well. The more we come to know Jesus personally, the more we will know the Father. For the Father is revealed to us perfectly in Jesus. In Jesus we see the very nature of the Father. That nature is nothing less than unconditional, forgiving, healing, compassionate, and self-sacrificing love.
From verse 15 on, Jesus tells us that if we love him we will keep his commandments and “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept because it neither sees it or knows it” (verses 16-17). In these few lines, then, we have been given the core teaching of the doctrine of the Trinity. Through Jesus we have seen the Father. We have seen that Jesus is the “the way and the Truth and the the life of God. And the very Spirit of God remains with us to this day, and to the end of time. We are not abandoned. Indeed, God is with us in all times, the good and the bad. As believing Christians, we are called to commit to a relationship with God, and we are challenged by God, in Jesus, to live a particular way of life rooted in the truth of God. And we do this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. And Amen.
Father, help us to see you in your Son, Jesus, more every day. Give us ears to hear you whispering to us through your Spirit dwelling within us, so that we may knowingly, willingly, and faithfully follow you in your way and your truth and your life all the days of our lives. We pray in your name. Amen!
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