By David Faust
It’s one of the best-known verses in the New Testament. But to postmodern ears, John 14:6 sounds narrow and uncompromising. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
It would be the height of egotism to insist that you alone are the pathway to God—unless it happens to be true.
What Jesus Said About Himself
The Lord said, “I am,” not “I might be.” Jesus’ “I am” statements in the Gospel of John remind us how God told Moses, “i am who i am” (Exodus 3:14).
Jesus said, “I am the way.” Not merely “a” way. Not “one of many ways.” Christ is not a detour; he’s the main road—the freeway to Heaven.
He said, “I am . . . the truth.” He doesn’t just theorize about truth; he embodies it. He doesn’t just talk about the nature of reality; he personifies it. He doesn’t just spout impressive philosophies; he teaches true, practical wisdom. There’s nothing phony or pretentious about him. He’s the genuine article, the real deal, the honest truth, the certified and bona fide declaration of God.
He said, “I am . . . the life.” When lungs breathe and hearts beat, we have him to thank. When we hold a newborn baby, walk through a forest, or plunge beneath the sea teaming with life, his handiwork is on display. When we stand by the graveside of a loved one, his resurrection gives us hope.
Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” If there are any exceptions, he doesn’t mention them. We may struggle to grasp it, but who are we to dispute the plain teaching of God’s Son? We gain access to God through Jesus. Not through good deeds or good intentions. Not through faith in other spiritual leaders or religious systems. Not by trusting ourselves, being kind to others, or even going to church. You can’t reach the moon without traveling through space, and you can’t get to the Father without going through Jesus.
How His Identity Affects Us
If Jesus meant what he said (and he did), and we take him seriously (as we should), then John 14:6 will impact what we believe, what we do, and what we preach.
Our Faith. Would visitors to your church recognize that Christ is the unmistakable focal point of what your congregation believes? Or would they find it hard to distinguish your church from a social club with a few religious overtones or a self-help session with a few prayers thrown in?
Our Actions. America today is threatened not by the separation of church and state, but by the separation of church and life. The Lord doesn’t lock himself in the church building, and we shouldn’t leave him there either. He’s our ultimate boss at work, our faithful companion at home, our closest friend in the neighborhood. The test of our love for Christ isn’t the intensity of our feelings, but the consistency of our obedience. He said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15).
Our Message. Without Christ, we have no good news to offer a spiritually starving world. He is the way to approach God. He is the central truth we proclaim. He is the source of life we enjoy now and forever. Popular or not, John 14:6 is still in the Bible, and it needs to be firmly embedded in our hearts.
1. How would you respond if someone says that John 14:6 sounds too narrow-minded?
2. Is Christ really central to your faith and to your daily life?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for December 1, 2013
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Daniel 7, 8