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John 14 :6 "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
The Centrality of Jesus Christ
Our text this evening is a very well known one and we have it because one of Jesus disciple’s, Thomas, didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about and so had asked for clarification. We should be grateful to Thomas because thanks to him that we have this lovely succinct description of some of Jesus’ qualities and of his importance.
Jesus’ reply to Thomas here can be looked at in two halves which balance and complete each other. Taken together the two halves teach the same basic truth. The first half puts this teaching in a positive manner while the second half does so negatively:
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
"No one comes to the Father except through me"
Let’s turn to the text to examine it more closely. We want to know that we understand clearly what Jesus had to say on that particular occasion and to make sure that we embrace for ourselves the truth he conveyed.
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life..."
A way is a means of approach?
To whom is Jesus such a means of approach?
God is our Father by creation
God is our Father by redemption cf. Jn.1:12 "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
To where is Jesus a means of approach?
The Father’s house or heaven.
By what means has Jesus become this means of approach?
The cross – cf. Heb.10:19-
How can Jesus say that he is the truth?
Because he alone fully knows the Father
As the truth Jesus:
Shows us what God is like
Teaches us what God wants us know
Shows us what God wants us to be
Reveals to us the way to God
Even his enemies could speak positively about this :
Mt.22:16 "And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances."
One of the earliest description of those who followed Jesus was as those who belonged to The Way (see Acts 9:2). And their faith was referred to as The Way (see Acts chs. 19; 22; & 24).
Jesus is both the author and the giver of life
cf. Acts 3:15 "and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses."
Jn.1:4 "In him was life, and the life was the light of men."
Jn.5:26 "For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself."
Jn.11:25 "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,"
1Cor.15:45 "Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-
The type of life that Jesus particularly gives us is eternal life
Jn.10:28 "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
Jn.17:2 "since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him."
Heb 5:9 "And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,"
To know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent is what eternal life involves
Jn.17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."
Col.3:4 "When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
"No one comes to the Father except through me."
Having declared himself to be the way, the truth and the life which positively asserted his uniqueness Jesus continued to press this home.
"No one" can come by any other way, by any other truth and find life in coming to the Father if he tries to ignore Jesus or to by pass him.
This uniqueness of Jesus and married to his absolute centrality in all Christian preaching in the NT shows us that his disciples got the message – but have we?
On the Day of Pentecost Peter spoke very clearly and plainly about the Lord Jesus Christ and his words convicted his hearers. When they asked him what they could possibly do he did not tell them to do anything but focus on Jesus:
Acts 2:38 ""Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
A few chapters later we find him speaking in similar vein:
Such behaviour landed Peter along with the other apostles in hot water with the Jewish religious authorities. They were thrown into prison but as soon as they were let out by an angelic liberator they went straight back to their task of preaching about Jesus. When questioned about this Peter boldly replied:
In a day of religious pluralism where political correctness seems to want to claim that everyone must be right and no-
And yet we cannot relegate Jesus’ words to the bin and try to pretend he never said them. In our day when everyone’s views are supposed to be equally valid we have to proclaim the exclusive words that Jesus sounded forth and which the church down through the centuries has always done when it has remained faithful to its charge to go and make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe everything that Jesus commanded.
This won’t be welcome in our day but then again this has always been the case and just as it did not stop our forefathers neither must it stop us.
The hindu with his hundreds of thousands of gods must be told that Jesus is unique; the muslim who professes to worship one god must be told that the only way to do so acceptably is by abandoning the teachings of their prophet and following those of Jesus. The Jew must abandon his rejection of Jesus and embrace him as the One true Messiah. The atheist, agnostic, materialist, and animist all have their own opinions and ways of doing or not doing things and each must hear and respond to the one and only Saviour of the World.
And so must you!
How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation for there is no other way, truth or life that can bring us to God as forgiven sinners?
So let us listen to his truth, follow his way and receive the life that he and he alone offers to us in such abundance.
And to God be the glory.