“Jesus Is the Way”
Welcome to another episode of “Key to the Kingdom.” My name is Bret McCasland. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, He began His public ministry at about the age of 30. For the next three years, Jesus went many places and taught many people. Now certainly the Bible does not contain every detail, but what we do have is a good summary of His work. Oh, I really wish we had more of Jesus’ life recorded, especially the words He spoke. We do have, however, some amazing and life changing statements. Today, and in the next several episodes that will follow, our attention will be given to some of what we might consider to be His most important sayings. Obviously, we cannot cover them all, but the ones we will study will hopefully help transform us as His disciples. Today, Jesus’ words from John 14 receive our attention. There, Jesus identifies himself as the only way one can come to our Heavenly Father. When all is said and done, that is at the heart of the matter, isn't it? How can we have access to God? In one of His “I am” statements, Jesus shows us the way. Oh, it seems many of us are constantly searching for our way in this world; and in today's lesson, Jesus gives us some much needed direction. I hope you will stay tuned to this station for the next few minutes, as we open up our Bibles and study one of Jesus’ most important statements: “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
A number of years ago, while I was traveling in the western part of the United States, I got lost. Oh, I had my directions on the phone and also on a piece of paper, and I was trying to get to an appointment. But as I was traveling along the highway, I did not recognize this particular area, for I knew the area in which I was supposed to be. And so after awhile I pulled off to the side of the road and I looked carefully at my instructions once again. And sure enough, I realized I was headed in the wrong direction. Well, I made some adjustments and got back on the right road, and I ended up at my appointment with only five minutes to spare. Yes, I had lost my way and I did not know how to get to where I needed to go. And I suppose we all have our stories about being lost; and, some of them don't turn out quite so well. On one occasion, Jesus’ disciples were lost. They were uncertain as to where they needed to go and how to get there. Jesus was telling His disciples about the time when He would no longer be present with them. In John chapter 14, He was about to ascend back to His Father in heaven, and He was preparing His disciples for that time. We notice this event, beginning with verse 1 of that 14th chapter: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there 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 also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” These disciples were troubled about the future when Jesus told them He was going away. Jesus had hand picked these disciples, and for the better part of three years they followed Him. They went where He directed, they listened very carefully to His teachings. They, indeed, were His disciples. And now, with this announcement, they were concerned about what would happen next. They wondered who would tell them where to go and what to do, and they were uncertain. It brought a great deal of anxiety to them. Well, Jesus also told them, “If I'm going away then I am coming back. There is a time when I will return and gather you unto myself, that where I am with the Father then you can be there, also.” Well, that did not necessarily comfort and reassure these disciples; especially one by the name of Thomas, and he asked Jesus about that in verse 5. He asked a sincere question, “How can we know the way to the Father?” Well, Thomas, perhaps speaking for the other disciples, did not know how to get where he wanted to go, in the presence of the Lord. And Jesus responded to that question with those most famous words, in verse 6, “I am the way the truth and the life.” He said, basically, “Know Me and follow Me and I will lead you to the Father. You can know the way to the Father when you know Me, as the Son.” Well, Jesus did not say these things in a prideful or an arrogant way, at all. He simply said them so that His disciples could find that in Him they could know the way; that in Him, they could be reassured and comforted that He would not leave them, forever. Yes, Jesus simply identified himself as the way. Many people today ask the same question that Thomas asked. Oh, they might ask it in a different way, but they ask, “How can we know the way to eternal life? How can we know the way to a relationship with God?” Some look for that way through meaning and significance here upon this earth. They might seek it in things that this world has to offer, like money or power or prestige. Others seek the answer to their question about knowing the way in various philosophies or thoughts or behaviors. And all of those things have some merit to them. They might even bring a season of satisfaction. However, in Jesus’ statement, we too can find reassurance and comfort in knowing there is a way that leads to our Father in heaven. From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, all the way to the end, He constantly invited people to follow Him. He wanted those people to listen to His teaching and to understand not only who He was, as God's representative, but also what He had to offer. Yes, Jesus was the route, or the way, people could take in order to experience that relationship with God, and eventually enjoy and participate in that eternal home with Him. As Jesus taught the crowds of people who followed Him, one day He identified himself as the bread of life, in John chapter 6. Many times Jesus stated, “I am,” and then He filled in the blank with some kind of description: “I am the bread of life,” or as we're looking here in John 14, “I am the way the truth and the life.” And by that, Jesus was simply stating I am the source through which you can receive spiritual nourishment and spiritual guidance in regards to your walk with God. Well, when people heard that statement, I am the bread of life, many of them refused to follow Jesus. They decided to no longer walk in His footsteps and to seek out a different way. When Jesus saw all of those people going away from Him, He then turned to His disciples and asked the question, “Will you also go away?” And one of them, by the name of Peter, responded with these words in verses 68, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” Oh, Peter and the other disciples recognized who Jesus was and what He had come to do. They recognized He was the only way, the only source, through which they could enter into that eternal home with the Father. Not long after Jesus ascended back to His Father in heaven, the apostles Peter and John shared the story of Jesus with as many people as possible in the city of Jerusalem. They talked about Jesus’ life, His ministry. They told the story of Jesus’ death on the cross and burial in the tomb and resurrection from the grave; and the Good News message spread everywhere. Well, the religious authorities there in Jerusalem questioned that. They felt threatened by what Peter and John were proclaiming, even to the point they put those two men into prison. They then interrogated, or questioned, Peter and John about their message and their ministry. And Peter had this to say in regards to that, in Acts chapter 4 and verse 12, “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Yes, Peter and John let it be known that it was only through Jesus Christ that one could receive salvation. It was only through that name that one could experience the promise of eternal life. These are just a few examples of Jesus’ disciples recognizing Him as the way that leads to that eternal home with God. A popular statement heard today goes something like this: There are many ways that lead to God. And yet, as we have seen, these words from Jesus and His disciples tell us something quite different. There is no other way that leads to the Father. There is no other message that leads to an eternal life with God, except through Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God. Yes, He is the way. The second statement Jesus made here in John, chapter 14 verse 6, is, “I am the truth.” Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is recorded in Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7, and in those three chapters Jesus stated at least six times the following words; “You have heard that it was said, but I tell you the truth.” Now, many people have misinterpreted or misapplied the teaching of the Law of Moses. They have misunderstood the message of the prophets and some of those things that we read in the Old Testament. But one of the purposes for which Jesus came into this world was to give a more full and definite meaning to that message. He brought a new and fresh meaning to His Father's teaching; and so when He said that in the Sermon on the Mount, that's what He was trying to accomplish: “Here is the true message you need to know and understand. I am going to tell you the truth about the Word of God.” Yes, Jesus was the standard by which people were to live their lives. He spoke the truth as He taught the message people needed to hear and follow. When John wrote to the early church, he began his message with these words, found in John chapter 1 and verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John was writing about Jesus. Jesus was the Word. Jesus, or the Word, was with the Father in the very beginning, and He was the authoritative Word by which one could find God. No other word and no other voice, other than that of Jesus, carries with it the authority of the Lord God Almighty. And what Jesus said is the truth; and, there is absolutely no reason to doubt that, even today. One day when Jesus was working in His ministry, He shared these words with some fellow Jews who were following Him. They are found in John chapter 8, verses 31 and 32. “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Yes, again, Jesus always spoke the truth. He never said anything false or untrue. In fact, everything He said came from His Father in heaven. He spoke the words of God, himself, and there was always truth in everything He said. You know, the word of Jesus (as we just noticed there) also sets people free. By believing in Him and following His teaching one is free from anything that keeps him or her separated from a relationship with God. We can be free from sin and from Satan, and from everything which Satan represents. As Jesus stood on trial before He was put to death, the Roman governor, Pilate, wanted to know Jesus’ true identity. Oh, Pilate had heard from other people who Jesus was and who He represented, but he really did not believe, and so he wanted to hear from Jesus, himself, who He was and His purpose. Well, Jesus told him, in John chapter 18. Listen to Jesus’ response in verse 37: “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” Oh, Jesus plainly said, “I am speaking the truth and have throughout My ministry. What I say comes from God. I have come to testify to the truth of the Lord God Almighty.” Once Pilate heard that, his response in verse 37 was quite simple. He said, “What is truth?” Oh, Pilate was searching for truth, but he did not believe truth to be found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He wanted it to be found in someone or in something else. Well, that leads us to another popular statement heard today, which is, truth for you may not be the truth for me. Now, many people in the world today have their own idea of what is the truth. They tend to believe whatever fits into their idea of truth, and for them that's what truth really is, whether or not that is in actuality the truth. And yet there is no greater source of truth than the words of Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God. Well, turning back again to John 14, there was one final phrase that Jesus said. Not only is He the way and the truth, but He also is the life, there in verse 6. But what did He mean by that? Well, Jesus was referring to both physical and spiritual life. Jesus offered a life that would bring freedom from anything that would prevent one from having that walk with the Lord, just like we identified a moment ago. He came to offer a full and abundant life, according to John chapter 10 and verse 10. And when a person devoted one's life to following Him as a disciple, there would be no need to worry about anything. All of the stress and the anxiety and the problems of this world would no longer be a concern. Well, that did not mean those problems and difficulties would simply vanish away. It meant rather, the Lord would take care of His followers, in the midst of them. And that would allow a disciple of Christ to seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, according to Matthew 6 and verse 33. Jesus offered spiritual life with His Father as well. We see that in John 5 and verse 24: “Whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Now that's good news, isn't it; that, when we believe that Jesus has the words of life we escape judgment, or punishment, and upon our passing we go from death to eternal life with the Lord. Oh, when we hear Jesus' words from the Bible and when we believe them with all of our heart, when we believe that Jesus is the true Son of God then eternal life is available to us. Here is a third statement, which is commonly heard: “Be happy for this moment for this moment is your life.” Oh, many people in the world today live only for this moment and they give no thought to what will happen next. They give no thought to tomorrow. They give no thought to what happens the moment they die, and where they will spend eternity. Jesus offered abundant and eternal life for all who will submit to and follow Him. On other occasions Jesus said similar words to “I am the way the truth and the life;” And each time He did, He, in another way, answered Thomas's original question there in John 14 verse 5: “How can we know the way to the Father?” Well, Jesus said these words to reassure His disciples in the midst of some uncertain times. Oh, like these disciples of old, we too live in some uncertain times. We too may want to find our way in this world, but we don't know for sure exactly how to do that. We seek to know the truth and to be able to trust what other people tell us. We long to find a life that makes a difference, not only for ourselves, but also for other people. In other words, we don't want to be lost. We don't want to be unable to find our way, and so we seek those options that will bring about a certain degree of certainty. We look for someone or something to worship and follow. And at one level or another, perhaps all of us are searching for God. But like these disciples of old, we too can find in Jesus Christ the words of eternal life, the reassurance that we can have when we find Jesus as the way. We put our faith and our trust in Him and then we live out that faith, as we submit to Him as one of His disciples. Now, Jesus’ words, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me,” provides the answer to the question that we might ask: “How can I know the way?” Jesus is the One who was sent by God, who offers God's free gift of love and salvation. He personally came into this world to show us the way to the Father so that we can have a relationship with Him. And if you are searching for your way in this world, I would encourage you and invite you to begin by finding Jesus Christ by recognizing that indeed He is the way and the truth and the life that leads to an eternal home with God.
I am standing here trying to find some directions. I want to go from where I am right now, to where I want to be. And I'm looking at this map, I'm looking at the GPS on my phone and I'm looking for some back roads. I'm looking for the quickest way to go where I want to go. And I'm a little bit confused. I guess you could say I'm lost and I need to find my way. And I suppose we all have experienced that at one time or another. We get lost. We get turned around and confused, and we're frustrated. We don't know how to get to where we want to be. And that happens physically, but it also happens spiritually, as well. Sometimes we are confused as to how we can get to a relationship with God and we get turned around spiritually. And there's so many different ways that are offered to us, and we don't know for sure where to go. Jesus offers a way. In fact, He tells us that in John 14, verse 6, “I am the way the truth and the life. Anyone who comes to Me can find the Father.” That's good to know, isn't it! If we get confused and can't find our way, Jesus Christ leads us to God. He leads us to the point we can have a relationship with our Father in heaven. Today, if you are feeling confused and overwhelmed by all the different things going on in the world, I hope that you will seek out and find Jesus Christ, allow Him to become your Savior, experience His salvation, and then begin to follow in His footsteps and know that He is the way that will lead you to an eternal relationship and home with your Father in heaven.
Thank you for watching today's episode. I hope this message about Jesus being the way to a relationship with God was a blessing. Oh, I am thankful Jesus had us in mind when He made that most important statement. I also trust you have found the way that leads to eternal life. This message is available to view and listen to again. It can be found on our website, at keytothekingdom.com. There are other lessons on the website, as well, and they all can be downloaded in several different formats. There is never a charge or obligation that comes with any of these lessons. Other messages can also be found on Facebook®. Every Sunday night a new one is uploaded, and they are all designed to offer spiritual encouragement for the week. You can watch short messages and lessons at your convenience through Roku® television, also; we have a dedicated channel there for that specific purpose, and I hope you will consider that option. A free app is available for smart phones. When the app is downloaded, you will have access to everything offered through the website, study lessons, devotional thoughts and information about our work in India are some of the things that might be of interest. I encourage you to take a look and find that which might provide a spiritual blessing. If you so desire, you can call the number on the screen to leave a message. Thank you again for joining us for today's message. I invite you to tune in again next time, as we continue to study the Bible on “Key to the Kingdom.”