Pastoral Reflection on “I AM the Way, Truth and Life”
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
This well known “I AM” statement that we hear from Jesus is part of a text that is often spoken in times at the end of life or at funerals. It summates the text about there being “many rooms in my Father’s house; and I go to prepare a place for you.” He goes on to give the assurance that he will come again to gather us to himself.
Jesus makes this statement in a three-fold understanding: He is the way, he is the truth, and he is the life.
The “I AM” statement that he is “the way” leads one to a certain understanding that no one can come to God except through Christ. Before Christ, access to God was prohibited. Even Moses did not look on God’s face, but is given the name “I am who I am” out of the burning bush. If we look back into the Old Testament, the only persons that were allowed “access” were the Levites; the priests. Once each year, the high priest entered the “Holy of Holies” in the Tabernacle or Temple. This was the place that the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and was believed to be the place where God resided. In Christ, this understanding changed, we are given access through God’s choosing, in the form of his Son. In an interesting twist, in the book of Acts, we hear that Paul is on the road to Damascus to go and arrest those that are part of “the way,” that is believers in Christ.
Jesus as truth can also be understood through the lens of scripture all the way from the beginning of the book of Genesis, though we as humans did not see this truth until God reveals his Son in the incarnation. Genesis starts, “In the beginning…” The prologue of the Gospel of John gives us the same sense of understanding. It begins, “In the beginning was the Word…” The Word of God for us is Christ himself. From the very beginnings of creation, the red thread throughout scripture is pointing to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the truth because he is the subject of the promises that God has given to humankind.
Jesus Christ is the life. It is in the promises that claim us through the gospel that leans us forward. Those that are in Christ have already suffered death, and have been reborn in Christ. Many look at life as an A to Z timeline, birth to death. But those baptized into Christ were born, put to death in baptism, and are raised to know a life now in eternity where death has no dominion. This is true life.
This sermon from Jesus Christ gives us a promise. He says, “I AM.” We have access to God, to hear the truth in Christ, and to live a life of faith. He gives us the gift of faith to trust that HE IS, to know with certainty that this promise is FOR YOU. It is through faith in the promise that allows us to live open-endedly!