Jesus Said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life"
By Iverna Tompkins
Transcribed by Jane Vaughn
Being troubled about negative circumstances in our social, economic, or political world is not for God’s people. That is a serious statement. It can be a constant war or mental battle for us because we are busy and have so many serious things going on in our lives let alone in the world around us. I can become anxious before noon if I am careless in my thinking. The Lord has been dealing with me during this past year, focusing on this tendency, as I found myself in a “forced rest” because of multiple sequential physical situations. He has been working on me from the inside out – cleansing, doing a deeper work than before, showing me things I would have gone to the guillotine swearing were not in me. I honestly did not know they were there or needed my attention. But I finally came to realize we are all better off if we willingly fall on the Rock and repent – or the other option could be a crushing experience.
Let us look at John 14. Verse 1 begins: “Let not your heart be troubled.” It seems to me that we must be capable of this kind of “heart trouble” or He wouldn’t have addressed it. Breaking it down further, we can see the first words: “Let not.” The implication here is that we have a choice. We are to fight against the problems that weigh so heavily in our minds. Actually, we have to war against them. We cannot allow trouble to overpower our hearts. Jesus is saying, “Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled!” And then, He kindly gives us the reason for not “worrying.” It is because “you believe in Me and I believe in you.”
That’s one thing this whole passage is saying. Jesus is talking to His disciples, the eleven, in the Upper Room after Judas left to set his betrayal in motion. In essence, Jesus says to them, and then to us by extension, “Don’t you understand? I’m preparing a place for you. It’s not just for one. I am preparing a place for each one of My children. I am preparing a specific place for You. It is going to happen and it’s going to be one of God’s suddenlies! Just suddenly! there it is. It’ll be ready. I’m preparing a place for you. Why be so troubled?”
Can we understand there is a place He has prepared in eternity for us, but also in the here and now? And when His placement, His temporal and spiritual provision for us happens, we look back and say, “If only I would have known; if I only had understood His purpose in this ‘trouble.’” Then – if you had “only known” ahead of time – you would never have known faith!
Verse 3. “If I go and prepare. . . I will come again.” I believe in the Second Coming of the Lord. You must know that. I even believe in the Rapture of the Church. I’m that old fashioned. :-) But I’d like to give a secondary approach to this truth in God’s Word. Jesus said, “And if I go…” You see, He does “go.” He goes away!! He steps back.
Tell the truth. You can just be there – on fire for God, sensing His presence, praying with deep passion and – all of a sudden – He’s not there! You lose the sense of His immanent presence. Now, I know you don’t like to hear that – but you do experience it. And you are left to wonder, “What happened? Where are You?”
The Bible says that He hides Himself! (Is.45:15; Ps.44:24; 57:17) He hides from me sometimes. And when this occurs, I have to come back to faith and say, “I know You’re here. I don’t sense it – I don’t smell You – and I don’t see You right now – but I believe, I trust, You are here!! And I’m waiting right here in the place of faith, for Your return!” That’s what He’s listening for from us. What He wants to hear and see is our faith expressed in Him and His Word, regardless of our feelings.
And then, it’s amazing that He goes on to say in verse 3: “I’m preparing a place for you, that where I am you may be also.” Stop and think about that! I mean – Oh! Thank heaven for that day! That day in eternity! But, “Lord, let’s talk about today. We live here in the nasty now and now!”
“That where He is…” Where is He? When He’s talking, where is He? Yes, Jesus is in Jerusalem at a most significant juncture in His earthly life. More than that, however, He is so one with the Father that everything He does, He says “It’s the Father.” Everything He says, He says “It’s the Father” (Jn.14:10; 24; 5:19). Are you with me? Step out of only thinking “eternity” – and step into the temporal “today.” He says, “Where I am…”
It is so important that we actually hear this. I want you to understand the implications of what He has just said. This is it: We can have that same intimacy with the Father – now. We truly can! Allow me to paraphrase Jesus’ words to make it even clearer: “I’m going to go away. I’m going to edge away from you. I’m going to pull back a bit. But wait…”
How much of God do you want? I know people that will seek Him and then when He withdraws, when He temporarily removes that wonderful sense of His presence, that’s it – and they stop. They may say something like this: “I remember back when…” so many number of days or months or years ago, “when we had this great move of God...” But they haven’t continued – searching – seeking – knocking until… (See Mt.7:7,8 where the verb tenses indicate an on-going and continuous action of asking, seeking, and knocking). And that’s why He backs up.
This is a farewell sermon found in these few central chapters of the Gospel of John. Jesus knows He is going to leave and these are His last words to His disciples (who do not vote “Yes,” by the way, on His going).
In John 14, Jesus says, “I’m going to go. I’m going to prepare a place for you. And if I go – I’ll come again and I’ll receive you unto Myself and where I am – “ Can you see it? This is a fresh revelation for me! While I was meditating on this passage, I thought, “Oh! Where He is – I – can be there!!” It’s worth the continued knocking! Oh, yes it is! I’m excited that He’s there!
Go on reading because He says in verse 4, “And whither I go… the way you know.” Then it’s rather a funny thing when you read how Thomas objected, “We don’t either!” Verse 5 – it’s worded a little differently in the King James. :-) “Thomas said, ‘Lord, we know not where You go.’” And Jesus said, “You do know the way,” but Thomas replied, “We don’t know the way. How can we know that?” And Jesus responded to him, in verse 6, “I am the way – the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” Basically, He is saying, “I am the Way to the father for your eternity. And – I am the Way for you to be in His presence, accessing everything you need for today!”
Verse 7 – Jesus continues, “If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also; and from here on you’ll know Him and have seen Him.” This time we hear from Phillip, (verse 8), “That sounds great, Lord, show us the Father.” And Jesus lamented, “Have I been so long a time with you and you would say to Me, ‘Show us the Father?’” (Jn.14:9)
What I want to focus on at this time is Jesus saying this – “I am the way – the truth – the life.” Oh, we know that verse so well. We do – and we don’t. Let’s take the time to consider this more fully as together we look at all three declarations.
Jesus is the way – to what?
1. The first point must obviously be the literal exegesis – “I am the way to the Father." There is a whole generation today of people who have never known a loving father – a natural father who was loving and kind, a father who was even there. We read here that Jesus said, “Where I am, you can be, and I am the way to the Father.” Please see this. You’re not just a servant of God. You’re not just an intercessor. You are one with the Father! In John chapter 17, Jesus explains this further. In verse 21 Jesus says, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us…” Jesus continues this thought in verse 23: “I in them and You in Me…” God’s plan (from the very beginning) is that we (all of mankind) may become integrally united with Him, one with Him, and Him with or in us. And so, we, who have already received Christ as Savior, have a vital and dynamic message that this generation longs and needs to hear! Their cry: “I need a father!” Our response: “Jesus is the way.” The way to the presence of God is Jesus.
2. The second point is this – I see that Jesus is the way to a higher walk of fellowship. You cannot have a higher walk of fellowship with God if you don’t come through Jesus (verse 6b – “No man comes to the Father but by Me”). I love it when we sing, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Mk.11:9; Lk.19:38; Ps.118:25,26). When the day comes that we, the people of God, understand the power of the Name of Jesus – then we can exclaim, “Harvest! It’s Harvest time.” That’s when we can say, “Oh, Hallelujah! Revival!” It will be at that time when the church knows – when we each know – there is power in the Name of Jesus – there’s authority in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way. Have I been this long with you and you still don’t get it?”
3. Jesus is the way to the presence of God and the way to a higher walk of fellowship. He also is the way to greater knowledge. The Lord shows us things we never knew before (Job 42:3).
When you start praising Jesus – start acknowledging Jesus – then stand back to watch Him reveal Himself in power. Isn’t it sad that it took the world to revive Calvary (through the film “The Passion of the Christ”)? I mean, I’m glad he did it (Mel Gibson). I’m glad we saw the film. I’m glad we cried through it. But, where were we? Where were we, Church? Why did it take someone from the world system to point to Jesus’ work on the cross? We, of course, knew it – but our knowledge of that wondrous Truth did not propel us into positive action – into declaring before the whole world the awesome wonder of our Lord, our Savior, our Provider, Who is the only Way!
A common response to that film was, “You have no idea what that did for me.” The cynical ones said, “Well, a lot of good men died for other men. You know, there were a lot of war heroes in World Wars 1 and 2.” That’s not the point at all, is it? That it took someone from the world to depict on the screen – to revive the attention of others, saying, “Jesus did that – for me!”
That’s where knowledge comes in. In our knowing, we can also be directed to faith-filled activities that influence our world. We don’t always have to grab people by the collar on the street corners to tell them what we know. In fact, most of the time, the more powerful witness for Christ is a quieter demonstration of how we live, how we speak, where we go, how we fill our leisure time, how diligent we are in our work or community involvements. Jesus can and will show us how to do that. He is the way to knowledge.
4. Jesus is the way to wisdom. You cannot read the Book of Proverbs with understanding if you merely see the word wisdom and do not know what it means in that context. It isn’t until you put the name “Jesus” in place of the word “wisdom” that you understand the Book of Proverbs. Paul said, “He was made unto us…” what? “Wisdom.” (1Cor.1:30). Wisdom – righteousness – and power.
You are far wiser than you realize and filled with far more knowledge. Just like the disciples, in ignorance we say, “Oh, I wish I knew. I wish I understood good things like that.” He is the way! You abide in Him and He abides in you” (Jn.15:5). You have the “mind of Christ” (1Cor.2:16; Jn.15:15; Phil.2:5). We need to learn to tap into His never-ending resources. They reside within each of us through the Holy Spirit. And we need only to ask the question (Jn.15:7; Jas.1:5), “God, I need Your wisdom.”
5. He is the way to power. In Jesus’ Name – there is power (Jn.14:14; 16:24; Mk.16:17,18). Jesus said, “I’m your way to the Father and He’s going to send you the Holy Spirit” (Jn.14:26). He comes from Jesus. If Jesus hadn’t prayed for it to happen (Jn.15:26), we wouldn’t have Him. We would never know the Holy Spirit were it not for Jesus. There’s no way that Father could entrust His Holy Spirit to me if He didn’t see me in Jesus! (cf. Jn.17:23). What an amazing truth! That God sees Jesus in me – in you.
When we realize and understand that the very same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells within our mortal bodies (is that not astoundingly amazing to you?!), (2Cor.4:14; 1Cor.6:14; Rom.8:11; Eph.1:19), we begin to see things differently. I’m not just an “anything.” I’m not just a Christian! I am a Christian!! I am, you are, infused with everything that is contained or implied in His Name! You’re not “just.” You’re also not an “X” anything in God’s mind. “I’m an X-minister. I’m an X-intercessor. I’m an X-pastor.” No, you’re not. Once He’s called you, whether you’re functioning in that capacity or not, you still are that. Learn to “pastor” everyone you have in your sphere of influence! Learn to “minister” in the marketplace, in your home. It’s your opportunity. You can minister fully without a formal platform or title.
Part 2 – because Jesus is not only the way To… He is the way Out of….
Go to Part 2