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John's Gospel-a new look-number 15:Chapter 14 "I am the way"

Updated on August 26, 2017

The most amazing statement: "I am the way"


As John begins the 14th Chapter, the disciples of Jesus are shattered to say the least. They had left their world to follow Jesus. Now they believed they were going to die in Jerusalem (11:16). Their leader had told them he was going away (13:33) and then he washed their feet. They heard a voice speaking from heaven (12:28). One of the twelve had just sold Jesus to his enemies and Peter was told that he would betray Jesus that very night. Jesus was telling them things they did not really understand, and now he was leaving. What was going to happen to them next? What could they do? Even Jesus was "troubled in spirit" (13:21), what then about them? No wonder John states simply and powerfully: "And it was night." (13:30)

And so Jesus reassures them with these amazing words: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God: trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am."( 14:1,2 NIV translation) We cannot really understand the concept of heaven being a place with many rooms as that sounds too physical, but that is how Jesus explains it to his disciples as they meet for the last supper in a room in Jerusalem. He then adds to their confusion by saying: "You know the way to the place where I am going."

The obvious question on all their minds but only on the lips of Thomas (the questioning one) is: "We don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus then makes the most profound statement of all time when he says: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".(vs. 6)

Jesus had already revealed to them that he is the Word, the living water, the good Shepherd, the light and the door, but now he adds three more challenging concepts. "I am" takes us back to the opening statement in this Gospel and the divinity of Jesus. "I am the way" crosses the gap between man's humanity and sin and God's holiness and eternity. "I am the truth" answers the many questions that philosophers have searched in vain for through the ages. "I am the life" brings us into contact with what Tenney (pg. 215) describes as the "divine vitality" and what we usually call "eternal life."

Jesus then answers the second of three questions asked by the disciples in this chapter: "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." (vs. 8) His answer is as surprising as it is profound: "If you have seen me you have seen the Father." Here Jesus explains the unity that he and his Father share and that we can also experience through the Holy Spirit. Jesus does not claim to know the way. He does not say he teaches about the way. Rather he claims to be the way. Here is the heavenly God become visible and so as we know Jesus so we also know God. As we follow Jesus we become part of the way. In the book of Acts the early Christians are referred to as "followers of the way." (Acts 24:14) Even today God will fulfil his work in those who believe and become people of the way.

It is doubtful that what Jesus told the confused disciples, as recorded in this first part of chapter 14, did much to clarify their confused minds, but Jesus had warned them that what he was teaching would only be fully understood "after he was glorified."

Now Jesus again reassures his followers with a promise that he will not "leave them as orphans." (vs. 18) For the rest of the chapter and in the next chapters, John records the teaching that Jesus gives about the Holy Spirit. After he has left, it will be the Holy Spirit who will be their new counsellor and will guide them into all truth and empower them until Jesus returns to complete his promise made at the beginning of this remarkable chapter.

Barclay W, The Daily Study Bible; The Gospel of John Volume 2

Tenney MC, John the Gospel of belief

NIV Translation of the Bible

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