I Am the Way the Truth and the Life
How do you refer to yourself when someone asks you what you believe? Do you call yourself a Christian? A follower of Jesus? Or do you refer to the denomination you associate with?
Did you know that Christians used to refer to themselves as, The Way, after Jesus’ resurrection?
“Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” Acts 9:1-2 (bold added)
Saul was a Pharisee, which meant he was a scholar of the Jewish law. He knew the Torah and the prophecies well. He also knew all the man-made rules the religious leaders heaped onto the law, in order to create stricter orders to keep people from sin. The problem was, after a while, the man-made rules took precedence over the sacred law of God. They lost their focus, to the point that they didn’t see Jesus for who He was, and were willing to kill others who did.
So, what happened to this brutal persecutor of The Way?
“As [Saul] traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul said.
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6
Jesus put a stop to him! Jesus’ glory blinded Saul on his way to a city called, Damascus, where he was going to persecute more people of The Way. Jesus called out to Saul and revealed His truth to Him. His voice and His glory left Saul trembling.
“The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.” Acts 9:7-9
The men with Saul could verify everything, since the Lord allowed them to hear what was said. Saul was in pure shock. Can you imagine what he must have felt like? What would be going through his mind as he sat there for those three days?
Saul had been so adamant that the people of The Way were wrong. He assumed they were trying to ruin the Jewish religion and he went to any length to prove them wrong. Now, he had been confronted by Jesus Himself, and left stunned. I’m sure the guilt of what he had done overwhelmed him, as well as a thirst to know the truth!
Jesus prepared His followers with the truth about Himself before He death and resurrection.
“’Don’t let your heart 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 am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.’
‘Lord,’ Thomas said, ‘we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way?’
Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” John 14:1-7
By Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection from the tomb, and His ascension back into heaven, He opened the door for all who believe in Him to one day enter eternal peace with Him. All who receive His gift of salvation are automatically adopted into the family of God. God has prepared a room for each of us. Jesus explained this and said that He was going to, “prepare a place for you.”
I’ve read this passage many times. One thought that came afresh to me this time is this:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going to prepare a place for you.”
There are lots of rooms available in the Lord’s house. That’s special in itself. On top of that though, Jesus is preparing a room specifically for you. It’s like the staff of a fancy hotel preparing your room. There are flowers, strawberries with chocolates, a bottle of champagne, robes, towels in fancy designs on the bed, etc. He’s putting minute details to every little thing before your arrival.
Then He added something beautiful.
“If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.” John 14:3-4
As His follower, you’ll know when you die how to get to heaven. But that isn’t good enough for Jesus. He won’t let you go by yourself, and He won’t even let His angels escort you. He’s coming for you, Himself! He’ll come boldly and announced with trumpet sound!
Thomas asked Jesus how he could know this way Jesus was referring to. In his mind, he was thinking of a literal, earthly place. So Jesus, being rich in love and grace, made the way very clear for Thomas.
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7
Jesus explained to Thomas that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
- He is the only Way to be free from sin and death, and to live eternally with God in heaven.
- He is the Word of God, so He is the Truth. God cannot lie, so you can be assured that when Jesus speaks, He only speaks the truth.
- Jesus is the Life. He is Creator God, so your very breath in your lungs and life itself are a gift from Him. But He’s also the Life by way of His death and resurrection. By defeating sin and death on the cross, He opened up the invitation for you to have eternal life with Him. You may physically die on this earth, but that’s the final death you’ll ever experience. You are free in Christ, never to experience Hell to those who believe.
Jesus confirmed He is part of God by saying that no one can come to the Father but through Him. He knows the Father, and those who have seen Jesus have seen the Father, because He is the physical representation of God. The Father and Him are one. Jesus is the I AM, eternal, always-present, personal God!
So, what happened to Saul? We left him sitting in shock after experiencing Jesus.
“They didn’t find me (Saul, later known as Paul) arguing with anyone or causing a disturbance among the crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or anywhere in the city. Neither can they prove the charges they are now making against me. But I admit this to you: I worship the God of my ancestors according to the Way, which they call a sect, believing everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets.
“…Since Felix was well informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, ‘When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.’ He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.” Acts 14:12-14,22-23
Paul’s life was dramatically transformed. This man who once harshly persecuted the people of The Way became a Christian himself after his encounter with Jesus, to the point where he was put on trial, imprisoned like the people he once sentenced there, and then was murdered for his faith.
Once you have an encounter with the true Messiah, there’s no turning back. This incredible, loving, merciful God is preparing a special place, so that when the time is ready, He can sweep you off your feet and triumphantly carry you home to live with Him forever. Paul experienced what Jesus has to offer is worth even dying for. It is the most awesome gift you’ll ever receive!
Paul accepted Jesus’ invitation of salvation and prepared for eternal life with Him. While Jesus prepares a place for all those who believe in Him, you should be preparing as well; sharing His good news with others, guiding other believers to strengthen their faith, and living a life worthy of the gospel.
Jesus is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let’s live like the early church, the people of The Way, once did, being loving, humble, and bold in our faith! Let’s shine the light of Christ into this dark world!