Studies in the Gospel of John- I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
I. “You know the way to where I am going”
A. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7)
B. This is a conversation taking place at the last supper. It will be the most vulnerable and intimate discussion recorded between Jesus and His disciples. Within this conversation there are two I AM statements mentioned. All of the statements that Jesus makes are representative of His true Nature, however, these last two have special meaning to those who believe. Their emphasis is connecting His disciples with the Father and the Spirit.
C. He has just told Peter that Peter will deny Him three times before the rooster crows and then He tells the rest to Not let their hearts be troubled. As a part of comforting them, He is talks about preparing a place for His disciples in His Father’s house. To understand this a little better…
Dr. Renald Showers, Chairman of the Pastoral Studies Dept. Philadelphia College of Bible says Those who live in the modern western world do not catch the full significance of Jesus’ promise. This is due to the fact that in His promise Jesus was drawing an analogy from Jewish marriage customs in biblical times. Since this is so, those marriage customs must be examined if one is to grasp the significance of the promise.
The first major step in a Jewish marriage was betrothal.
1. Betrothal involved the establishment of a marriage covenant. By Jesus’ time it was usual for such a covenant to be established as the result of the prospective bridegroom taking the initiative.
2. The prospective bridegroom would travel from his father’s house to the home of the prospective bride. There he would negotiate with the father of the young woman to determine the price (mohar) that he must pay to purchase his bride.
3. Once the bridegroom paid the purchase price, the marriage covenant was thereby established, and the young man and woman were regarded to be husband and wife.
4. From that moment on the bride was declared to be consecrated or sanctified, set apart exclusively for her bridegroom.
5. As a symbol of the covenant relationship that had been established, the groom and bride would drink from a cup of wine over which a betrothal benediction had been pronounced.
6. After the marriage covenant had been established, the groom would leave the home of the bride and return to his father’s house. There he would remain separate from his bride for a period of twelve months.
7. This period of separation afforded the bride time to gather her trousseau and to prepare for married life.
8. The groom occupied himself with the preparation of living accommodations in his father’s house to which he could bring his bride. At the end of the period of separation the groom would come to take his bride to live with him. The taking of the bride usually took place at night. The groom, best man and other male escorts would leave the groom’s father’s house and conduct a torch light procession to the home of the bride.
9. Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the exact time of his coming.
10. As a result the groom’s arrival would be preceded by a shout.
11. This shout would forewarn the bride to be prepared for the coming of the groom. After the groom received his bride together with her female attendants, the enlarged wedding party would return from the bride’s home to the groom’s father’s house.
12. Upon arrival there the wedding party would find that the wedding guests had assembled already.
Shortly after arrival the bride and groom would be escorted by the other members of the wedding party to the bridal chamber (huppah). Prior to entering the chamber the bride remained veiled so that no one could see her face.
13. While the groomsmen and bridesmaids would wait outside, the bride and groom would enter the bridal chamber alone. There in the privacy of that place they would enter into physical union for the first time, thereby consummating the marriage that had been covenanted earlier.
14. After the marriage was consummated, the groom would announce the consummation to the other members of the wedding party waiting outside the chamber (John 3:29). These people would pass on the news of the marital union to the wedding guests.
15. Upon receiving this good news the wedding guests would feast and make merry for the next seven days.
16. During the seven days of the wedding festivities, which were sometimes called “the seven days of the huppah,” the bride remained hidden in the bridal chamber.
17. At the conclusion of these seven days the groom would bring his bride out of the bridal chamber, now with her veil removed, so that all could see who his bride was.
D. It is questionable if even his disciples were understanding what the Lord was saying. Thomas said to Jesus “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
II. I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life…
A. hodos Thayer Definition:
I. properly 1a) a way 1ai.) a travelled way, road 1b) a travellers way, journey, travelling
II. metaphorically 2a) a course of conduct 2b) a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding
B. alētheia Thayer Definition:
I. objectively 1a) what is true in any matter under consideration 1ai) truly, in truth, according to truth 1aii) of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly
C. zōē Thayer Definition:
1) life 1a) the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate 1b) every living soul 2) life 2a) of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature
D. “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There is no access to God Almighty, Father of Creation, but through the Son. The Father’s house was Jesus destination. Knowing that the Temple in Jerusalem was considered His Father’s house, Hebrews tells us that these things on earth are a shadow of things that are eternal, but Jesus was going to the Tabernacle in Heaven. Hebrews 8:1-5
E. I believe the remainder of Chapter 14 is a fuller conversation on the fact that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life. Philip asks for Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9)
F. It is within this statement that Jesus affirms and declares the nature of the triune God. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, (Colossians 2:9) Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:1-3) For God is the One who shows the Way (to Himself, of direction, and manner of living), Truth and True things, and the breath of Life that animates all things living. This is accomplished through the work of the Godhead.
G. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:10-13)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:19-21)