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I AM (John 14:6)

August 26, 2009

A good friend and brother in Christ prepared this as part of his seminary training. I thought it would be good to post for the edification of other believers. I do so with his permission. (Thanks Dave)

John 14:6 (NASB)

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Of all the “I AM” statements the John 14:6 statement is perhaps the most comprehensive. Not only does Jesus assert and prove His Deity but He gives the roadmap to eternal life and holy living. Thomas’ faithless question received an answer that strengthens and affirms the faith of Christians worldwide and has done so throughout the last two millennia. It will continue to do so.

Circumstances of the “I AM” Statement

The “I AM” statement studied here took place during the Upper Room Discourse as it is known. Jesus and His Disciples were relaxing in the upper room. Judas the traitor had just been dismissed.

Jesus’ “I AM” statement was in response to Thomas’ question, “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” Merrill Tenney states that, “The second question was put by Thomas, who contradicted flatly Jesus’ last statement, “Whither I go, ye know the way,” and then despairingly asked, “How know we the way?”

Links to the Past

In Psalms the way the truth and the life is understood. To look at a passage such as Psalm 25:4-6 is to understand John 14:6. “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from old.” We mostly see the John 14:6 passage exemplified in the Old Testament through seeking the Lord’s ways and/or His guidance and His truth these are mostly found in the book of Psalms.

Another way of looking at it is that every time the people of Israel are in trouble it is because they have strayed from His path, and His truth, they are not trying to live His type of life. As espoused in the Psalms following His path leads one into His truth and living His type of life. In turn doing these things produces the belief and faith which produce eternal life.

The Revelation of Deity

The “I AM” statements of Christ may only be recorded in John but this is not the first time for the Lord to use an “I AM” statement. Perhaps the most famous one is located in Exodus 3:14. “God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” This is how “the Jews” knew Jesus was claiming to be God. This is also why they wanted to kill Him so badly. The Jews believed Him to be a blasphemer and the sentence for this was death. Many heretical groups even today deny His deity using the same question as Satan. Did God really say…except in this case they ask “Did Jesus really say He was God? He did! It is quite obvious that the Jews thought so. He was making claims that to the Jewish mind screamed out to them “I AM GOD!” It cannot logically be taken any other way unless one wants to deny the facts and circumstances. When taking a truly objective look at the evidence one can only come to one conclusion. Jesus is who He claims to be. Lee Stroebel, a lawyer and journalist, tried to disprove the person and Deity of Jesus Christ. He didn’t want his wife to be taken in by any religious fanatics. His research was long and painstaking. In the end he realized that Jesus Christ was true and truth itself. He realized that Jesus was the way and the life. After his years of research to disprove the person and Deity of Jesus Christ he was broken by what he discovered. He was brought to his knees in his sin and got up a Christian. This is not the first instance of this. C.S. Lewis left the faith he grew up in but was later brought around by friends and by a logical mind that was objective.

Application

A word study of the three important words in the John 14:6 passage may be of use. In the original Greek way is hodos which has the range of meaning; road, path, and manner of life. Jesus is the road or path or way to eternal life. His way is the manner of life that we should aspire to and emulate.

The Greek for truth is alethia which has a range of meaning of truth, truthfulness and corresponding to reality. Jesus is truth, He is the only reality. Anyone who denies this deceives themselves. How many people are out there searching for truth and when they supposedly find it and it is not grounded in Christ they soon move on to a different “truth”.

The Greek for life is zoe which has a range of meaning of life, physical or spiritual life, brings life and eternal life. Jesus gives physical life both at creation and at conception. He makes physical and spiritual life more abundant. As a person follows and worships Him they are fulfilling their created purpose so they will be fulfilled and content.

Jesus’ way and His truth and His life are necessary for fulfillment and peace in this world. Man was created to follow His way and if it is not followed then man suffers. Without His truth there is all of a sudden no absolute truth. If man does not know the way and that he has significance then he goes around all day saying, “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? What is the meaning of it all?” Man will drive himself insane asking himself these questions. With life and truth man asks himself “Who am I?” again driving himself mad because he can’t find an answer. “In Christ we are able to know God personally. Our relationship with God through Christ is a cornerstone of our identity.” Without Christ none of the questions that man drives himself to madness asking can be answered.

Conclusion

In conclusion, The “I AM” statement of Jesus in John 14:6 not only proves Christ’s Deity but is a road map for both the physical and spiritual lives of men. Jesus Christ is God his “I AM” statement in John 14:6 proves this. Thomas’ question may have been faithless but “Jesus reply is the ultimate foundation for a satisfactory philosophy of life. He did not claim merely to know the way, the truth, and the life as a formula he could impart to the ignorant; but He actually claimed to be the answer to human problems.” This must have sounded incredibly arrogant to those who didn’t understand then and to those who do not believe today. Merrill Tenney takes up the same point of Barker and Kohlenberger when he states, “Solutions to human problems are never found in skepticism, but rather in the affirmation of faith.”

While being the most comprehensive of the “I AM” statements of Jesus John 14:6 is also “the premier expression of the theology of this entire Gospel.” In a nutshell it is the message of the whole Bible. Jesus is the only way to follow, the only truth to hold and the only life to strive for both in this mortal existence and in the eternity to come. Jesus is the only way to eternal life, He is the only truth that there is and there is no life apart from Him.

Select Bibliography

Anderson, Neil T. Victory Over The Darkness. (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1990)

Barker, Kenneth L. and John R. Kohlenberger. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: New Testament. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994)

Burge, Gary M. The NIV Application Commentary: John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000)

Goodrick, Edward W. and John R. Kohlenberger. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990)

International Bible Society. The Holy Bible, New International Version. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973)

Stroebel, Lee. The Case for Christ. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998)

Towns, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. (Chattanooga, TENN:

AMG Publishers, 2002)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 3, 2009 4:47 am

    Very insightful. Nice blog keep up the good work God bless.

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