Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Notice Jesus didn’t say He is “a way, a truth and a life.” Jesus clearly shows He is the only way. The ONLY way. But this rubs many people the wrong way. I constantly hear complaints against the exclusivity claims of Jesus.
Postmodernists, (AKA all of you under the age of 35 out there), think Jesus’ claim is not in keeping with modern times. That there must be many different ways because we are all so different and truth, (for the post modernist), is found is each person’s own interpretation. Thus, there must be many different ways. Or others feel this exclusive claim by Jesus is unfair. Why is Jesus the only way? What about all the people that don’t know Him? Then there are those with a Buddhist or Hindu bent who complain that Jesus’ claim is narrow minded.
There is a famous story from the Indian subcontinent about three blind men which is used to illustrate this point. One day they happen upon an elephant, but being as they are blind they can’t see it. So one blind man feels the trunk of the elephant and says it must be a tree and the trunk a branch. The second feels the leg of the elephant and says it must be a pillar of a building or house. The third feels the tail and says it must be a rope. Many Eastern religions use this story to illustrate the point that to some extent they are all right as there are many different parts of an elephant.
The problem is, the blind men are all wrong. The elephant is not a tree branch, a pillar or a rope. The elephant is an elephant! Because the men are blind and can’t see the elephant doesn’t mean their interpretation is correct. It just means in their blindness they did the best they could to try and figure out what it was. The truth is, we are the blind men feeling around for truth trying to figure out what it is. We may have some part of it grasped but can’t possibly understand the whole part because we are blind. But then Jesus comes along. He isn’t blinded by sin like we are. He sees the elephant as it actually is in it’s complete form. And this is why Jesus’ making His exclusive claim in John 14:6 is such good news. Let’s consider 3 reasons why Jesus being the exclusive way, truth and life is such good news.
First, Jesus’ exclusive claim is good news because we don’t have to guess. We are all born blind because of sin, (Romans 3:23). We do our best in trying to discover truth, (the elephant), but we are still unable to get it. So we are left guessing, hoping that our interpretation is good or close enough that when the end comes we will be rewarded.
But this is a scary way to live your life, never sure of your future or what is true. If truth is always changing or up to each person’s own interpretation, then what if I am wrong? What if my whole life I am thinking it’s a tree but it’s really an elephant? Praise be to God that I don’t have to guess. I don’t have to try and feel my way around to figure out truth. Instead, I can trust that Jesus knows truth because He is truth and we can thus depend upon Him.
Second, because Jesus’ exclusive claim is backed up with power. For Jesus to make this remarkable claim in John 14:6 and do nothing else would make Him no better than a crazy person. Anyone can say that they are the only way, truth and life, but Jesus actually is because His life backed it up with amazing power. Jesus had the power to miraculously heal, (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 2:9-12, Luke 17:12-16), and to cast out demons, (Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 11:14, Mark 9:25). But not only that, Jesus most clearly and wonderfully displayed His power in His death and resurrection, (Matthew 27-28). Jesus came back from the dead of His own power. This amazing power has not been seen elsewhere and thus backs up Jesus’ claim that He alone is the way, the truth and the life.
Finally, because Jesus’ exclusivity claim isn’t based on us but rather on Him. Jesus doesn’t give us a map to follow and tells us to go out and try and find the way to God. He doesn’t say His teachings are the way, the truth and the life. No Jesus provides the way, truth and life through Himself.
This is amazing news because in our weaknesses and failings we can’t possibly find the way. We may try and we may work hard, but life can just beat us down sometimes. There are temptations everywhere. There are paths that seem much easier to follow which is probably way so many walk down those wrong roads, (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus doesn’t expect us to figure these things out on our own but instead provides for us each step of the way. Thus, my salvation, my life purpose and my security are completely found in Him. And this will never change regardless of the weaknesses I continually display.
Praise be to God that Jesus is exclusive. Let us all rejoice in the fact that our God is not just one of many different gods to choose from or is simply one philosophical path among others, but that the God we worship is “the way, the truth and the life.” Thank you Jesus for being beautifully exclusive yet willing to invite and welcome a sinner such as I to follow you!