The Way

17th study in the series on the ‘Names of Christ’
adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on
7 Dec 2007

“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).

The Bible is about the Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament anticipated His coming to save His people. The New Testament looks back to His first coming and anticipates His Second Coming. Almost everything in the Bible in the Old and New Testament is about Christ. His person and works and emotions are captured in the Bible in many, many ways—in history, in statutes, in poetry, in songs, in proverbs, in prophecy, in letters, etc. In these documents He is not always referred to as Christ or Messiah or Jesus. He is referred by a variety of symbols, types, allusions and names. Some of these names refer to the Lord’s person and work in symbolic and graphic ways that are both memorable and instructive.

Many of these are found in the Gospel of John. Here the Lord Himself reminds us of who He is and what He came to do through 7 ‘I am’ statements.

We have seen:

·  “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:35)

·  “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12);

·  “I am the door of the sheep” (Jn 10:7);

·  “I am the good shepherd” (Jn 10:11);

·  “I am the resurrection, and the life” (Jn 11:25).

In this study, the Lord helping us, we must consider the Lord’s 6th ‘I am’ statement: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6);

The context of this declaration is the Lord’s farewell discourse with His disciples after He instituted the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord knew that His departure was at hand. The shadow of the cross was looming long. So He told His disciples that He was going away. He was going to prepare a place for them that He might receive them to Himself (v. 3). Then He added rather cryptically: “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (Jn 14:4).

Thomas, who was always quick to speak his mind, replied: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5). It was to this rather candid question that the Lord replied:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This is the 6th ‘I am’ declaration of our Lord in the Gospel of John. And herein are 3 names of the Lord. ‘I am the way’; ‘I am the truth’; and ‘I am the life.’

We have considered ‘I am the Life’ when we studied His 5th saying: ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.’

In this study, we want to consider the meaning and implications of our Lord’s self-designation as ‘the Way.’

1. What does our
Lord mean?

The Lord says, ‘I am the Way.’ When we talk about a way, we are talking about a road or a route to somewhere.

The way to Changi Airport is to follow the ECP unto its end. The way to PCC is to take the AYE, exit at Lower Delta Road, then turn left 5 times.

The Lord says He is the way. But what is the destination?

The Lord was telling His disciples that He was returning to His Father’s house where there are many mansions. I am not sure if the Lord is referring to literal mansions. But I am certain that He was referring to a place of blessed existence in the presence of the loving Heavenly Father. Where is this place?

I have no doubt that the Lord was referring to heaven, which is also known as the Celestial City or Paradise.

Thomas for some reason did not grasp what the Lord was saying. And so wondered about the way to where the Lord was going. How to get there? What is the way to get there?

The Lord’s answer is ‘I am the Way’. He did not say, ‘I will show you the way’ or even ‘I will lead you in the way’. He says, ‘I am the way’.

What does He mean? What He means is simply that it is by Him, through Him and in Him that we can get to the Celestial City.

Man was created to have fellowship with God. The greatest enjoyment that man can have is to enjoy the fellowship and love of God. However, man has fallen into sin and therefore forfeited the privilege of knowing and enjoying God. God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. We cannot therefore simply get to heaven by our own efforts.

Heaven is a place indeed. It is a place not in this dimensional space so that we can get there by taking say, a spacecraft. But even if we suppose we can discover a way to enter into the heavenly realm, we would not be able to enter heaven for God is a holy God. No one who is tainted with sin and unrighteousness can come into His presence. The gates of heaven are, as such, barred for sinners. And are we not all sinners? We not only sinned in Adam, but we sin in a multitude of ways daily.

Is there anyone of us who can claim to be perfectly humble?

Is there anyone of us who loves his brethren more than himself?

Is there anyone of us who loves God perfectly?

Is there anyone of us who can honestly assert that he has never sinned or even sinned less than most people he knows?

I think if we honestly examine ourselves, we know that we have sinned and we fall short of the glory of God. We know that we cannot come into the presence of God without being consumed by His transcendent glory.

How then can we get to heaven into the joyous presence of God where we can enjoy the love and fellowship of God?

The answer is Christ. Christ is the way. He is the only way. He is the way provided by our holy heavenly Father.

He came as the God-Man to pay for the penalty due to our sin that our guilt may be washed away.

He came to do what Adam could not do, namely to live a perfectly righteous life in order that His righteousness might be imputed to us.

He came that He might clothe us with a garment of perfect righteousness that we might by faith in Him enter into the presence of God.

He came that all who believe in Him might have eternal life, which is a life of knowing and enjoying God today and forever more.

It is by faith in Christ that we can get to the celestial city. There is no other way. Christ is the only way.

2. What is that to us?

If Christ is the way and the only way, what should we do? Well, let me suggest 3 simple responses.

a. First, if Christ is the Way, let is seek no other way. As Protestants, we know that salvation is by Grace through Faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, it is possible for us to know this doctrine only intellectually.

What I mean is this: We can affirm intellectually that Christ is the only way, but in practice, we could be trusting in our own good works and righteousness.

Make no mistake, I am not saying that good works and personal righteousness are unimportant. A Christian who has no personal righteousness or good works is of all men most miserable, for he is deluded into thinking that he has eternal life when he is, in fact, heading to eternal damnation.

But do not swing to the other extreme of subtly thinking that you are good enough for heaven because of your good works and what you perceive to be righteousness. Anyone who falls into this error is likely also to fall into spiritual pride and a critical and condemnatory spirit. Worse still, such a person will never attain to heaven. He is, in the eyes of the Lord, like the Pharisee who, in self-righteousness, condemns the publican, but is himself not in the way to everlasting rest.

Those who would enter into everlasting rest must depend on Christ and Christ alone. They must put aside their self-confidence, self-righteousness and good works. They must count them as dung like the apostle Paul. No, no they are not dung in that they are gifts and privilege of God; but they become dung if we begin to trust in them to get us to heaven—for Christ is the only way.

Unless we recognise our poverty and failures, we will never be shut up to Christ.

It is like: Suppose you have to swim across a fast flowing river with a friend. You friend is a strong swimmer and he knows that you cannot make it across by yourself. So he says to you: cling on to me. Will you cling on to him? Well, if you know that you are not going to make it across by yourself, you will. However, if you think you are a sufficiently strong swimmer, you will not.

So it is with Christ. He knows that none of us can cross the river to the celestial city by ourselves, however strong we may think we are. He says to us: I am the way, cling on to me. Those who do will reach their destination. Those who rely on their own strength and ability or on their own floatation devices will find themselves swept into a Christless eternity.


b. Secondly, if Christ is the Way, then let us seek to cling on to Him in our Christian journey. We must remember that a Christian is not only saved, but he is being saved and will be saved.

The fact that Christ is the way and not just a gate teaches us that the Christian is a pilgrim that must trust in Christ all the way unto the Celestial City.

What is it to cling on to Christ? It is to put our faith and hope in Him rather than in ourselves. It is also to rely upon Him and therefore make use of all the means He has appointed for us that we might follow Him.

What are the means of grace? They are the word read and preached; prayer; fellowship; sacraments, etc. We must make use of these things in private, in our families and as a church. We must make use of them because Christ has appointed them for our use.

But now, make no mistake. I am not saying that as long as you make use of the means of grace, you are going to attain to heaven. Indeed, it is possible for you to be trusting in the means and not in Christ, and fall out of the way of life. Remember that Christ is the Way. The means are not the Way.

If we pick up the analogy of crossing the river again, the means of grace are like floatation devices that are appointed by Christ for our use. But these floatation devices are useless unless we cling on to Christ. Without Christ, we will still be swept downstream.

So beloved brethren and children, believe in the Lord, depend on Him, and at the same time make use of the means that He has appointed, praying that He will bless the means for your heavenward journey.


c. Thirdly, if Christ is the Way, then let us seek to lead others to that way.

During the rein of King Joram in Israel, the Syrians came and laid siege against Samaria. A great famine ensued in the land. Many died and some resorted to cannibalism. Elisha prophesied that God would give the people deliverance and the windows of heaven would, as it were, be opened to them. True enough, one night God caused the Syrian army to flee in panic, leaving behind all their belongings. But the Israelites were all shut up in Samaria because of the siege. Providentially, the 4 lepers, who were shut out of the city, were the ones that first discovered the booty. Initially, they wanted to keep everything to themselves. But conscience overtook them and they said to one another:

“We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace…” (2 Kgs 7:9).

Beloved brethren and children, we do not well if we hold our peace when we know the only way that leads unto life everlasting.

There is no other way to heaven. Heaven is the only destination where men, women and children can find true and everlasting happiness. If so, shall we not seek to lead others to the way to heaven?

We do not well if we hold our peace. May the Lord help us and revive our hearts that we may look beyond ourselves and seek to lead others to Him.


Christ is the Way! Is He your way, beloved brethren and children?

As you examine your heart, can you say: “Yes, Christ is indeed my way!” If not, will you not ask him to lead you back to that way—for it is only in Him and through Him that we can have life everlasting and heavenly enjoyment of God?

But if Christ is your way, then happy are you. Keep walking in Him! Keep trusting in Him! And above all, will you not seek to lead others to walk in that same way that leads to life? What a blessing it would be in that day when we have reached our destination to look around and see many a soul that we have led to that way or helped along that way.  Amen. ω