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I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE


1. Introduction

John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

John 14:4 You know the way to the place where I am going."

John 14:5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The context of the statement gives us immediately as to what Jesus is talking about. Jesus declares that he is going to prepare a place for his followers so that he will be able to take them to him. Abruptly Jesus states that the disciples knew the way to the place where he was going. Where is this place? How are we to get there? Evidently we can get there only if we know where we are going. Jesus was not asking a question. He was not asking, Do you know the way? He states that they knew already the way. But Thomas was not quite sure. Probably he was the person who dared to make their doubts vocal. He says that they did not know even where he was going.

2. The Way to Father

The verse Jn 14: 6 gives a direct answer.

1. Jesus is the way

2. Jesus is the only way.

3. The place is the presence of God -- to the Father.

Man was separated from for God and banished from the presence of God due to his sin. Jesus therefore declares that the reconciliation and redemption are achieved through him and through no one else. This Jesus emphasizes by the adjectives THE way, THE truth, THE life.

Rom 5:11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

2 Cor 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

2 Cor 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Col 1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Col 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

Col 1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--

3. The Way to Heaven

The Indian word for this is Mukthi that indicates a release from bondage. In Hinduism this bondage is the bondage of cycle of incarnations. Bible does not teach reincarnation, unless we consider the resurrection as reincarnation. Then resurrection is the same form, same person, with the full conscience of the past life in total contrast to the incarnation concept of Hinduism and New Age. But both agree that our aim is to be with God, in the continuous presence of God. Advaitists on the other hand strive to be one with god, because to them man in essence is God. Christian concept is Dwaitist that man is in substance different from God and is only an image. The place where we are going has to be a material world. At least there has to be a material dimension to that existence. Human body is material, though the resurrected body has more than material dimension as the properties of Jesus’ resurrected body indicate. In this passage Jesus does not refer to Heaven. He only refers to it as a place. If we are going to have a body (transformed and glorified with spiritual dimensions as well) this place has to be material as well as spiritual. It is this that Paul refers (for lack of other terminology) as the spiritual body.

1 Cor 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Cor 15:45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

1 Cor 15:46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

1 Cor 15:47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.

1 Cor 15:48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.

1 Cor 15:49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

But then that is not the only argument to support this conjecture. Jesus said he was going to the Father to prepare for place for us. Where did he go?

Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

Luke 24:51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Acts 1:10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

Acts 1:11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

How did Jesus go? He went up before their very own eyes until a cloud came and covered him. The ascension of Jesus was a bodily ascension and he went into the outer space. Unless Jesus was really fooling his disciples into believing what they saw, Jesus went to an outer material space. Certainly he had other dimensions. But his body was localized and he went up. So if we accept the story (as all Christians do) we have no other option to believe that this place (where he went to prepare a place for you and me) is at least partially material so that the translated imperishable body of mine will be able to live. It is this way that Jesus was saying to be Him. It is only through him too.

In this era of scientific fiction, the only comparison is one of space warp. I am glad that the Russian astronauts knew that. They tried to locate this place in their satellites. But then it is like walking North to find the edge of the earth. It is like the man in the movies ‘Gods are Crazy’ trying to see the end of the world. No one can get there by ordinary means. The place where you stand is the edge of the world. But you can realize it only when you have the perspective of the three dimension. You are bound by the dimesion of your existence. The way is Jesus. This place is a different dimension, different universe and the only gate is Jesus. The disciples saw him go. We will be taken there by Jesus himself. The way therefore is the faith that we have in Jesus.

To get to this new place we need to be transformed and translated. This power can be obtained through Jesus’ precious blood alone and with the resurrection power that is in Jesus.

1 Cor 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--

1 Cor 15:52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 Cor 15:53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

4. Paul Defines the Way

Early Christians were known as the followers of the way:

Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest

Acts 9:2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

Acts 19:23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.

Acts 22:4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,

Paul later defines the way in his defense speech before Governor Felix:

Acts 24:14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,

Acts 24:15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

This is probably the best definition of the Way we have:

This has three parts clearly outlined:

1. We worship the God of our Fathers., i.e., Yvh is the God. It defined who God is.

2. We believe in everything that is laid down by the scripture. In modern terminology it the declaration of Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone is the basis of doctrine and teaching. Scripture was defined by Jesus during his ministry

Luke 24:44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

So the scripture is the book we now call Bible with the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

Jesus considered the Psalms as containing Prophecy.

3. We have the great hope of bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust. That was the faith of the Pharisees. This was what Paul pointed out when he said "just as these people" meaning the Pharisees. Saducees did not believe in resurrection.

The Way is the way of redemption of our decaying bodies (for the justified) through faith in Jesus Christ.

5. Lord Defines the Way

God defined the day in Gen 18.

Gen 18:19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

Way of the Lord is doing what is right and just. Then righteousness is the way to heaven? Yes indeed.

Then the question is what is righteousness? Bible defines it clearly:

Ezek 18:5 "Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right.

Ezek 18:6 He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife or lie with a woman during her period.

Ezek 18:7 He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.

Ezek 18:8 He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man.

Ezek 18:9 He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Ezekiel gives 10 tests for righteous man in the above passage. Paul in his epistle to Corinthians refers to 9 tests:

1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders

1 Cor 6:10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

This is the way of the work. Karma Marga.

This is a way. But the problem is:

Rom 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

Rom 3:11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.

Rom 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

Rom 3:13 "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips."

Rom 3:14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."

Rom 3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Rom 3:16 ruin and misery mark their ways,

Rom 3:17 and the way of peace they do not know."

Rom 3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

The standards of God are so high that human endeavor cannot even approach that perfection. Though it is a way, it is an impossible way. No one can reach God through that way.

Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Then How did Jesus provide the way?

Rom 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Rom 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Rom 3:24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Rom 3:25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--Rom 3:26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

6. Jnana, Bhakthi and Karma Marga

In Hinduism, the Bhagavat Geetha, gives three basic ways to salvation - three ways of liberation. They are first Karma marga - the way of the work. Do good and be made perfect. Since you cannot do that in one life you improve your work, incarnation after incarnation until you are made perfect - until you are able to do your duties without regard to its consequences. In this process evil work leads you to lower levels of consciousness and good works leads to higher levels of consciousness. If you are at the higher level of consciousness you are reborn in the heavens and the pleasures of the heavens leads you to immersed in the senses and loose the way. In the lower levels of consciousness you are caught up in the struggles of existence that you loose the concept of godhead itself and you sink deeper and deeper into ignorance and evil. The gods are to be incarnated to be a man to achieve salvation. Salvation is found only in human existence. I have described this teaching only to show the viscious circle karma yoga produces. If at all there is a way out it is now and it is today.

Heb 4:7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."

The second way designated is the Jnana Marga - the way of enlightenment - the way of Knowledge. Evidently knowledge can show the way. But it cannot take you there. Every Yogi knows that he is God, but he has not attained. Evidently knowledge in itself is not self realization. You have to realize what you know. We do not know how. Only a Master can show that. Who is this master who has overcome death? Who has the power to give Life? Who is the true Master?

The Third way is Bhakthi Marga - the way of faith. Bhakthi alone will not liberate unless Jnana and Karma concord.

Rom 10:2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

Rom 10:3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

The Christian order is Jnana - Bhakthi- Karma.

Knowledge (jnana) should lead to Faith (Bhakthi) and this will produce righteous deeds (Karma).

Rom 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--

Eph 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Eph 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Each one in itself do not produce Mukthi.

How did Jesus achieve this?

The normal law of Karma is that the results of the karma of one person is to be born by that person. If one does good, he recieves the good reward and if one does bad he receives the bad reward. This is in essence correct.

Ezek 18:20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

But there is a law higher than that wherein the evil that one man does affects others, so also the good that one man does will affect others. We all know that. We all experiecne that every day in our life. Evil men creates havoc in society and the community as a whole suffers because of their evil life. Similarly the community as a whole gains from the good deed and of those unselfish great men. These great men are able to aleviate the suffering due to their karma by their righteous deeds. This is where the sacrifice and substitution comes in. Jesus took our Karma upon himself.

Isa 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

Isa 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isa 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Only Jesus could take away the karma of every person because he took the evil karma and its consequences upon himself. There had been many godmen in this world. But none could take the karma of others fully upon themselves. Only Jesus could promise that. This is what the Bible refers to as imputed righteousness.

Rom 4:5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

7. The Way in Uncharted Life

If you have ever been in the desert or in the savannah, you cannot go without a guide. There are no landmarks there. Everywhere looks the same. Directions cannot be marked. Only a guide will be able to take you through these uncharted territory. The guide is the way. You have not passed this way before. But one who has been here long enough knows the way. What better way to go through the uncertain life of ours than to trust it in the hands of one who knows the future.

Gal 3:11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."

Rom 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

You have not crossed the barrier of death. No one has ever come back from the dead to show the way over - except the one who was resurrected from the dead - Jesus Christ. Walk by faith. Put your hand in his hand. He knows the way.

John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

Rev 1:18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.  II      I AM THE TRUTH

The word Truth in itself does not make sense because it is an abstract qulaity. The question to be asked is: Truth about what? Evidently when Jesus said I am the Truth he implied something which everyone knew.

The question ‘What is Truth’ was asked by Pilot to Jesus and he explained it to him.

John 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

John 18:37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

John 18:38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.

Pilot here was grappling with two questions at the same time. One was the question of Sovereignty. Are You the King of the Jews? But Jesus goes beyond that question, while the answer to that question is yes, the sovereignty of Jesus is beyond that. It is true that by legal descent from David, the Kingdom of Judah belongs to Jesus. But Jesus points out that His Kingdom is not of this world. It will be a poor King to be the king of a decaying universe. Pilot got the point right on the nail’s head. He was a Roman Scholar and knew his philosophy well. Truth, Virtue and Beauty are the absolutes of the universe. Ancient Indian Philosophy puts it as Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram. He was also aware of the many stories in the Roman mythology about the children born to God. It was not difficult for Pilot to connect the issues and realize that Jesus was indeed claiming to be not the son born to a god, but an incarnation of God himself. This was probably new to him. But Jesus explained to him that He is indeed a King, but not of this world.

"For this reason have I come into this world, for this reason I was born". The clear explanation is that he was born by accident. He decided to be incarnated for a specific purpose. H existed before his birth.

John 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

He is the Alpha and the Omega.

Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

What was this reason? "To testify to this truth." To the truth that there is a world beyond this world where there is no pain or suffering or decay or death. He came to declare that truth and that He is the King of this imperishable ‘spiritual’ world. And that He was the way to this place. Here is the relevance to Jesus’ statement: ‘I am the Way, the Truth’

Pilate understood in the true Socratic and Platonic tradition that Truth is the Absolute. Here is Jesus who claims that he was this Absolute. Everything is be compared and with him. He is the ultimate standard with which the world may judge any action. World has never seen anything like this before. Go into every culture and religion, Jesus is the ultimate, par excellence. All godmen of India claim that they were once Jesus. Islam announces the total purity of the Word of Allah who is Jesus. Why because world has no other greater standard to go by.   III.      I AM THE LIFE

We need to look at the last word Life in the context of the other two, The Way, The Truth . What is life? It cannot be defined by simple mechanical means. Ultimately it is something that we cannot quantify nor measure. In the absolute sense it is simply consciousness. It is profoundly and simply put as "I think, therefore I am". It is essence of existence for the self. Life is a personality. God is a person because he exists and knows that he exists. All other creatures on earth are created life forms. Bible teaches that man is created in the image of God. I have dealt with this aspect earlier. Life as we know of is dependent on matter. Every life being we know has a form. Human form is one form. But each life form has its own form. Animals have their form, birds have another, fish has another and there are a large number of life forms on the earth. Vegetation’s have life. We cannot know the mind of other forms unless we can communicate with them. So when we talk about life, we are actually talking about life as we know - material form, with mind . On the earth they are based on Hydrocarbons. So when the NASA decided to check whether life exists on other planets they made an effort to check for hydrocarbons. This is a sort of human. We have no reason to assume that life can rely only on hydrocarbons.

If there are life forms in another dimension, their forms will be of that dimension. For lack of other descriptive word, the Bible uses the word spiritual body. Evidently spirit and body are mutually exclusive. So the word spiritual body somehow gives us the concept of extra-dimensional material body. Jewish description of angels were that they were made with fire. See the description given by Paul:

1 Cor 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

1 Cor 15:39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.

1 Cor 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.

1 Cor 15:41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

When Jesus claimed that he is Life, he probably meant several things.

1. He is the creator of Life.

John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Col 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

2. When God created he created with his word. The word became flesh. Creation was the event when word became flesh. Thus

3. It is Jesus that holds all life together.

Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

He is love and it is love that holds things together. When divisive forces produced by the life forms destroys this cohesiveness, it Jesus who brings them back and give them new life, through a new birth. For this purpose

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

For this reason again he became "Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."

4. Jesus gives new life.

As Jesus gave life to all created life forms, he also gives new life. Only he can do that. Life has been marred by selfishness and lack of love. Jesus gives new life.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

This new life is the abundant life. It is not like the life we know of where it is always misery. It is life without antithesis, where we grow from glory to glory. From lower life forms we grow into higher existences. It is this indescribable life that Jesus claims.

1 Cor 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--

Rev 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Rev 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.