What Does It Mean When Jesus Says, "I Am The Way"?
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."
— John 14:5-6
What is the way? Despite Jesus simple answer, Christians have been asking Thomas’ question for centuries. They also have been answering the question with paths of discipleship, lists of good works, special devotions, pilgrimages and disciplines.
Despite Jesus simple answer, 400 page books have been written with steps and patterns, secrets to following Jesus, unique prayers guarantee results, etc.
Jesus gives a strange answer. He does not offer a linear route or a series of actions. He offers Himself. In very simple straightforward words, He declares, “I am the way.”
We want to complicate it. We don’t believe it. Our Old Adam desires more. We want luggage, a walking stick and a map to the promised land. How do we get from death to life, from here to eternity, from slavery to porn, greed, hate and rebellion to perfect righteousness? Jesus says, “I am the way.”
Imagine it this way...
A young boy and his father were coming back from hunting in the woods.
Unfortunately the sun was setting and the boy grew scared. He could not see the lights of the house. He heard the growling of creatures plotting to devour them. The trees blocked even the moon and stars. He looked up at his dad and said, “I think we are lost, I don’t know how to get home?” The father simply tightened his grip on the boy. He didn’t tell his son how to get out at all but instead reassured him that he knew. The boy was comforted completely. He didn’t need directions. He didn’t need a plan. He could be completely in the dark. His father knew the way and had his hand and that was just fine.
So it is with us and our journey. We don’t need a map. We don’t have the burden of getting to heaven, becoming righteous, or even rising from the dead! Jesus has us. He is the way! He is our righteousness. He is our life.
To our fears of our past, our sins we still struggle with, Jesus' pierced hands grab ours and He says, “I am the way.” Jesus took care of it all on the cross.
"You're not the one who has to worry about everything," said the boy's father.
The boy said quietly, so his father almost couldn’t understand him, “What?” He looked up, his face wet and grimy.
"I am the one.”
To our worries about the future; how will we overcome the bad the news our doctor gave us, how will we take care of ourselves tomorrow, how will we rise from the dead? Jesus' resurrected hands hold us and He says, “I am the way.”
As we are burdened by feeling lost, burdened by our sins that keep us from God’s glory, burdened by our mortality, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
In baptism Jesus claimed you. He has your hand. Don’t worry about the darkness. Don’t worry about finding that narrow path to home. It’s not an arduous journey. It’s not a ladder of progress. The mustard seed of faith He has planted in you is sufficient. It’s Jesus. Jesus is the way.