Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Other religious leaders have not dared say such things. No one but an insane person or the Son of God could make such a statement. By saying this, one claims to be divine, since some of these very words are used in describing the nature of God in other places. Let us look closely at these amazing claims of Jesus.
HE IS THE WAY
It is important that we know the way and where we are in relation to the way. Today many people have global positioning units on their persons or in their cars. It is possible for every person today to know exactly where he is on the planet within a few feet or meters. What a paradox that most of earth’s people have no idea where they are spiritually. All this reminds us of that old story of the navigator who reported to the captain with these words: “I don’t know where we are but we are making great time!”
We must notice here that Jesus is not “a way,” or “some way,” but “the way.” This statement makes the way of Jesus a very exclusive one. It might be pointed out here that most people in the world do not believe this claim of Jesus. Sadly, a lot of evangelical people do not believe it. In a newly released Pew Forum Survey conducted in the US, it was found that fifty-seven percent of US evangelicals believe that other religions can lead to eternal life. Of course this is what the New Agers and many other Postmoderns have been saying all along, that there are many paths up the mountain but they all reach the top. This is not what Jesus says and it is not what the Bible teaches. In Acts 4:12, the Bible says “there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5). It is also of note that the Church of Jesus in the first century was often referred to as “the way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9).
The Bible also warns: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Pro. 14:12). To illustrate this verse there is the tragic story of a test pilot who was flying at a high speed and pulled the stick to make a steep climb. She immediately drove her plane into the ground, killing herself in the process. It seems she had become disoriented and was actually flying upside down.
We need to make clear at this point that God revealed himself and his way in Israel. He brought forth his word from Israel, his Messiah from Israel, and his gospel from Israel. He worked thousands of years to create a salvation infrastructure in Israel. God did not do this in other nations. We see an interesting verse to this effect in Psalm 147:19-20: “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.” It is doubly sad today to see Israeli young people, after they finish military service, rushing off to India or to Tibet to try and find the way when the way has been revealed exclusively in their nation. So to sum up, Jesus is the way. If we follow him we will not walk in confusion or darkness.
HE IS THE TRUTH
Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38). Jesus gave Pilate no answer because the question was foolish. Truth was standing directly in front of Pilate and he couldn’t see it. The great statesman, Winston Churchill, once remarked: “Men stumble over truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” *
The statement, “Jesus is the truth” really troubles a lot of people in the postmodern world today. Around twenty to thirty years ago we noticed the Postmodern Movement making its appearance. We began to hear its buzz words like “tolerance,” “multiculturalism,” and “political correctness.” One primary maxim of this new movement is that there is no ultimate truth. This sounds a little like they have just established an ultimate truth – that there is no ultimate truth. They say that all “truth” is affected by bias and that all “truth” is relative. Even as early as the 1990s, the Barna surveys were already showing that sixty-six percent of Americans did not believe in any ultimate truth. When Barna surveyed the 18-25 year-old group he discovered that the figure had jumped to seventy-two percent. **
Postmodern doctrine teaches that since all truth is relative and ever-changing one person’s “truth” is just as true as another person’s. Someone has remarked that about the only sin in Postmodernism is to question another’s “truth.” The argument also goes on that the Christian’s truth is no better than the pagan’s truth since all truth is culturally conditioned. In other words, what is true for one people may not be true for other people. We might wonder how some of these postmodern philosophers might react if they found themselves being prepared as lunch by some hungry cannibals. We can imagine that just as the water in the pot heated up and they began dancing to keep their feet off the hot bottom they might begin to seriously and anxiously question the cannibals’ concept of “truth.”
Also the postmoderns are busy applying their ideas to all areas of knowledge. They feel obliged to “deconstruct” all these areas that used to be truth and bring them into alignment with their own ideas. Of course, these areas would include the Bible, science, history, and apparently even logic. In the US we have a host of “new historians” who are rewriting our history and excluding the Christian foundations of early America.
Well, it usually takes only about 10-15 years until what the world is saying filters into the church. We begin to say the same things, but of course we cloak it all in some kind of religious language. So today in the church it is becoming popular for everyone to have his own “truth.” Someone will say: “My truth is that I can do drugs and be a Christian; or my truth is that I can dabble in sorcery.” Someone else may say “I can have a ‘meaningful relationship’ outside marriage and be a Christian;” or “I can elect an ‘alternate life-style’ becoming homosexual and still be a Christian.” Is all this really any different than what Israel was saying in Judges 17:6, when everyone did what was right in own eyes and not in the Lord’s eyes? Is it different than what Paul was saying in Rom 1:25? He states: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”
Today, millions have sold truth for false humanistic philosophies to fulfill their own lusts. Some years ago the famed Darwinist, Julian Huxley, was interviewed on the Merv Griffin Show. In this session he stated that the reason he accepted Darwinism without proof was because he didn’t want God to interfere with his sexual mores. *** In a moment of carelessness on camera he had revealed the stark truth behind humanism.
The author, Dennis McCallum, has written an excellent work on Postmodernism entitled The Death of Truth. I highly recommend it to our readers. But today we must proclaim that truth is not dead nor will it die. Truth is eternal and Jesus is the truth.
There is something that might happen to truth however. Truth may become a collectors item because there will be so little of it. The Bible seems to indicate this, even giving us some wise investment counsel with these words of Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth and do not sell it.” Hitherto some have sold it and they have sold it cheaply.
In another picture the Bible advises us to put on the “belt of truth” (Eph. 6:14). Actually it is the first item of armor that we put on in preparation for that final battle, and we see that it holds the rest of our amour together, even holding on our sword. The Bible assures us that in this awful Day of the Lord those who are living lies will perish: “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10). We are told in the next verse that God will send such folks a strong delusion.
HE IS THE LIFE
We don’t understand “life” very well. We are told to “Get all the gusto we can get!” or to “Catch the brass ring.” We are advised to get rich or famous! But is all that life? There is the old story of the man who became very rich. Unfortunately he learned that he was about to die. In his last will he requested that he be buried in his new Cadillac. The family sought to comply with his wishes and on the day of the funeral a bulldozer dug a very deep and wide pit in the cemetery. A hoist then lifted the Cadillac with the dead man inside and slowly lowered it into the grave. As the man in his Cadillac finally rested in the grave, a bystander was heard to exclaim: “Man, that’s really living!”
So obviously we don’t understand life very well and neither do we understand death. Yet, death is the “biggie” of our whole existence. The marvelous news of the gospel is that Jesus conquered death in the natural, spiritual and eternal senses. We see this reflected in his ministry, in that he raised many from the dead, including Lazarus of Bethany. What an astounding scene that must have been, as Lazarus wrapped like a mummy waddled out of the tomb. The news must have spread like wildfire all over nearby Jerusalem.
Yet the resurrection of Lazarus and the many others was nothing compared to the resurrection of Christ himself on that first Easter morning. All the people that Jesus raised physically eventually died again but the resurrection of Jesus was a spiritual and eternal resurrection with a glorified body. Jesus would never die again. He was raised from the dead by the power of God and he lives forever! This was the first time in history that anyone had been raised with a resurrection body and for this reason Jesus is called the firstfruits of all who are dead (1 Cor. 15:20).
There is no Christianity without the resurrection of Christ. In Romans 1:4 we read that he “was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection was proof positive that Christ was who he said he was. Neither was this resurrection something done in secret. It was very public and visible. He appeared to Mary, to Peter, James and then to all the disciples on more than one occasion. He then appeared to over five hundred brethren at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). Thus, Jesus appeared to hundreds of people in his resurrected body.
Some of the wise of this world still claim that the disciples faked the resurrection. When we read the Bible we realize that of all people the disciples really didn’t believe in the resurrection. Somehow it was hidden from them although Jesus had spoken to them about it on several occasions.
So today the leaders of other religions are rotting in their tombs but Jesus lives! That is the glory of the gospel and that is why the early Christians were so excited.
What can we do with this information? Let us dare to believe it and call on the Lord for salvation. The Bible says “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13). Everyone means drug addicts, sexual perverts, adulterers, thieves, murderers, and even people who think they have committed the unpardonable sin.
How do we call and receive it? We can say something very simple like “OK God,” or “Yes,” or “Sure,” or “Count me in God.” We can also say “Here I am Lord,” or “Jesus help me,” or better still “Jesus save me.” Again the scripture promises in Acts 16:31: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved– you and your household.”
This article is the condensed version of a sermon preached at Narkis Congregation, Jerusalem, Israel, June 28, 2008.
* David Guzik, Commentaries on the Bible, commentary on Romans, Ch. 1, distributed by www.studylight.org.
** Christianity Today, October 26, 1992, p. 30.
*** Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, (Wheaton IL, Crossway Books), 2004, p. 163.
Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons – Christ the Redeemer statue of Jesus Christ, atop Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.