“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus was going away. His disciples did not fully understand that. Certainly, they did not want Jesus to leave them. Nevertheless, Jesus was going away. On the night before His death, in the Upper Room, Jesus gave a discourse. In order to prepare the hearts of His disciples, Jesus began by saying that their hearts should not be discouraged. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). The same confidence the disciples had in God, was to be placed in Christ.
Then, Jesus revealed something wonderful about heaven. In heaven there are many dwelling places. If that were not the truth, Jesus would have told them something else. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Jesus went on to say that He was going to go to His Father’s house in order to prepare a place for His disciples. Then, He would return to them so that where He goes, they can be with Him forever and forever. “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:4).
To further encourage and comfort His disciples, Jesus reminded them of two facts. First, they already knew where Jesus was going. Second, they already knew the way to where Jesus was going.
That is a refreshing statement. Sometimes people do not know what, they do not know. Sometimes people are ignorant, and do not know they are ignorant. The Pharisees did not know spiritual truth. They did not know that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. They did not know they were spiritually blind.
Sometimes people do not know, what they do know. That seems like a contradiction but it is the truth. People know something, but they have a lapse of memory. They need to be reminded of what they have previous learned. Jesus had taught the disciples many wonderful truths. Now, He was reminding them of what they knew. They knew that heaven is for real. They knew that Jesus is the Door to heaven. He is The Way to have access to God. This was taught to them in John 10.
Frustrated with what Jesus was saying, Thomas disputed the statement of Jesus saying, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). It is always wrong to contradict the Lord Jesus Christ. It is always wrong to correct the Lord of Glory. Thomas was wrong to speak on behalf of the disciples, and say, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we possibly know the way?”
In matchless tender grace and patience, Jesus responded to Thomas. He did not respond with sharp words of rebuke, but with additional information. “Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Perhaps at that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded Thomas of what he knew. Thomas might have remembered the truth that Jesus is the Sheep-Gate by which the flock of God enters into the sheep-fold. Jesus was not saying anything new here. He was simply reminding the disciples that He was The Way to God. Once more, there is no pluralism allowed in the words of Jesus. The Lord does not offer many ways to heaven. He alone is The Way.
The Lord went on to say, “Thomas, If ye had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen Him” (John 14:7). When Jesus told Thomas that from now on he would know the Father, and see Him, the curiosity of Philip was aroused. Wanting to enter into the conversation, Philip, who had been listening to the exchange between Jesus and Thomas, spoke, and said unto Jesus, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). The word sufficeth means it will be sufficient. However, Philip was showing how shallow he, and the other disciples were, in understanding spiritual truth.
For several years Philip, and the disciples, had watched Jesus turn water into wine. They had seen Him raise the dead. They had watched as the blind were made to see. They beheld the wisdom of the Lord as He responded to the Pharisees, and still were not satisfied. They wanted one more thing. They wanted to see the Father. The disciples wanted to see what even Moses was denied, and of which every person has been denied since Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise. They wanted to see the invisible God. Just once. Show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.
The heart of Philip was beating very rapidly now, for the heart of humanity longs to see God. The making of idols reflects man’s longing to see God in some form. Moses wanted to see God, but was told that it was impossible. “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Ex. 33:20). The gospel of John affirms that no one has seen God at any time. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).
There are reasons why God the Father cannot be seen.
God is holy, and man is unholy. Exodus 3:5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
God is light, and man is full of darkness. 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
God is Spirit. His essential nature is spirit. John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
While God cannot be fully seen, He can be known. What God has done in matchless grace, is to allow His creation to see His veiled glory. Moses saw something of God, but He did not see God Himself fully. “And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen” (Exodus 13:17-23).
Again, in matchless grace, in order to allow His creation to see His veiled glory, God the Father, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ has revealed Himself. This is what Jesus meant when He responded to Philip. “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9).
Perhaps the Lord was exasperated when He said to Philip, “Have I spent all of this time with you, and yet you still do not know me?” What more did Jesus have to do to convince the disciples that He was Immanuel, God with them? Did Philip not remember the words of the prophet Isaiah? “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).
To see Christ, is to see the Father, but it is not to see the Father fully. In Christ all the manifestation of the divinity of the Father is fully expressed, but still, that is not to see the Father. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
“Philip, you are talking to God incarnate. You are witnessing the expression of the godhead bodily. You are talking to the expressed image of the person who is divine. You can behold the visible manifestation of the invisible God. You have seen Me, Philip. You have seen the Father.”
The words of Jesus to Philip are one of the most fantastic claims Jesus made. Once more Jesus was claiming to be very God, of very God. The idea that Jesus never made any claims to Jesus to deity is absurd. Indeed He did, and the Jews took up stones to kill Him for claiming to be God, for that was the proper punishment for blasphemy (Lev. 24:16).
The claim of Jesus to be God is recorded in John 10:30. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” Those wo heard Jesus speak understood what He meant, and took up stones to stone Him. “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:32-33).
The claim of Jesus to be God is found in John 8:58. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Once more the Jews attempted to stone Jesus. “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59).
The claim of Jesus to be God is found in John 14:9. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Certainly, the disciples of Christ were convinced that Jesus was God. “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
The authors of Scripture were convinced that Jesus was divine.
John said that the Word was God, and dwelt among us. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1; 1:14).
Luke recorded how Paul preached that God purchased His church with His own blood. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Referring to Jesus, Paul wrote of God our Saviour. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
The author of Hebrews wrote of Jesus as God. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).
Jesus has to be God, for only God could pay the infinite penalty for sin against God, and then forgive sinners. “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
There is such a unity in the Godhead, that, to see the Son is to see the Father. That is what Jesus was telling Phillip. The hearts of those who believe Christ, rejoice. If you know the Son, you know the Father. To believe in Jesus, is to believe in the Father. Conversely, the same is true. If you know the Father, you will know the Son. If you see the Father, you will see the Son. To believe in the Father, is to believe in the Son. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape” (John 5:30-37). “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:18). The way to the Father, is through the Son. The way to see the Father, is to see the Son.
As Jesus is the Way, so He is the Truth. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Though many are skeptical of truth, and ask in mockery with Pilate, “What is truth?”, Jesus did believe in ultimate truth, and claimed that He is the source of all truth.
There are several ways to confirm that Jesus is the truth.
The Old Testament. The Bible speaks of Christ. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40).
His sinlessness. “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (John 8:46).
He spoke without error. “And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?” (John 18:22-23).
Jesus prefaced all of His remarks by saying that what He taught was not His own teaching but that of God. Furthermore, He would teach without error. Finally, He is the embodiment of all truth.
Either such claims of Jesus are the claims of a liar, who knows He is lying, a egotistical maniac, or the claims of an honest person who really is who He claimed to be, the Son of the Living God. The Liberal scholars and nonbelievers are wrong to say that Jesus is a great Moral Teacher if in fact He erred in what He said, was delusional, or a lying charlatan. No Moral Teacher would make exalted claims about himself. Jesus taught with authority. Ignorance would not allow Jesus to be wrong.
In the modern culture, truth is despised, even in the church. It is often said that doctrine is not important, relationships are important. It is said that truth is relative. It is said that what is true for one person, may not be true for another person. For those who say doctrine is not important, but relationships are important, what is really being said is that this is truth, getting along. Here then is the logical fallacy of illogical reasoning. There must be an understanding of truth if an axiom is to be evaluated. To set relationships against truth is illogical.
It is the Word of God which defines truth. Jesus is the Word incarnate. Truth cannot be despised, without at the same time despising Christ because He is the truth. If you want to know the truth, go to the source of truth, which is to say, go to Christ. Go now. Go quickly. Go without delay. To go to Christ is to have life, eternal life. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).