Some words mean more than others. They point us to a truth or depth that is beyond what the words mean on the surface.
“Lord Stanley’s Cup” means something so profound to many people that they get a chill just thinking about it. I remember the first time that I was in the presence of “The Cup” and I stood there wondering if I should even touch it. It was awesome.
In the Bible we learn that the name of God is “I AM.”
This little phrase was so significant that many tried to avoid using that construction in reference to themselves.
Then Jesus comes along and embraces it as his own. In the gospel of John, Jesus self-identifies as “I AM” seven times.
I am the bread of life. John 6:35
I am the light of the world. John 8:12
I am the gate the for the sheep. John 10:7
I am the good shepherd. John 10:11
I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25
I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
I am the true vine. John 15:1
Perhaps I am making to big of a deal out of the “I AM” construction. It may not be anything significant. It may just be language and that is how it works itself out. Nonetheless, Jesus is at the very least telling seven important things about who he is. He is helping us know God through him beyond just his name.
For a long time John 14:6 has been most interesting to me. It has captured my imagination. Early on in my Christian life the emphasis was on “the truth.” This demanded me to prove Jesus as the truth. I jumped from this verse to the necessity of objective truth. I look back at those days and am grateful for the study that it propelled me into. I am thankful for the friends who gently and not so gently called me out on being “puffed up” in my own intellect and my arrogance.
These days, I can’t seem to escape from “way” and “life.”
There’s a bit of this verse that I left off above, “no one comes to the Father but through me.” To come to the Father we need to walk the way, truth, and life of Jesus. We come to the Father through Jesus this means that we must live into his way, truth, and life.
How? What is the way, truth, and life of Jesus?
I think that the best picture we get of that is in the Sermon on the Mount. The beatitudes really function as a summary statement in the opening of Matthew 5 and then through the rest of 5, chapter 6, and chapter 7 we get them all fleshed out.
Consider this life,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
This is the life of the way. The way of Jesus is marked by these things. These are not nice little ideas. No, these are calls for us who claim to follow Jesus to live his life. These are flesh and blood, here and now realities of how to live. The Christian life is not an intellectual pursuit. It is a lived faith. We enter into this world and empty ourselves by living the Jesus way. As we do we find out that he offers us so much more. We discover that on the way, we come to truth and life.