Jesus the Way
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus declared Himself to be “the way,” but the way to what? “To the Father” is the immediate answer. That is, fellowship with God can only be attained through the path provided by Jesus. This is Jesus’ response to what Thomas had just asked, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus is telling the disciples that they should already know the way because they know Him: “And you know the way to where I am going” (v. 4). If they know Jesus, they know the way because He is also the truth and the life, and to see Him is to see the Father.
“The way” is an important phrase as it is connected to Jesus and His work. Earlier in John’s gospel account, people were asking John the immerser who he was, to which he replied, “I am a voice of one crying the wilderness, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said” (John 1:23). John came as the forerunner to Jesus to prepare the way for “the way” (Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:6; Isa 40:3-5). This was so that all flesh could see the salvation of God. The way was the way of salvation, the way of Christ. Indeed Christ Himself did not simply provide a way, but He is the Way.
When John was born, Zechariah, John’s father, prophesied (Luke 1:67-79). John would be the prophet of the Most High, going before the Lord to prepare His ways, giving knowledge of salvation and forgiveness of sins, giving light to those sit in darkness, and guiding “our feet into the way of peace.” Salvation, forgiveness, fellowship with the Father, and true peace can only be found in Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate and only Way.
The disciples carried on the work of Jesus by proclaiming Him as the only way to salvation. When Peter and John were before the council due to their healing of a lame man, they argued that it was because of Jesus that the man was healed. They then proclaimed boldly, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
There should be no surprise, then, that disciples were sometimes referred to as “the Way.” For example, Saul was sent to Damascus “so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). Later, speaking of Christians, Paul said, “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness” (Acts 22:4-5). Then, in giving his defense before the council, Paul said, “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets” (Acts 24:14). Felix was described as one who had an accurate knowledge of “the Way” (Acts 24:22). “The Way” describes disciples who are in the Way, following the Way, and preaching the Way.
Disciples can be called “the Way,” not because they are equal with the Son of God, but because they are following the Son of God and represent His light to a world in darkness. Disciples are the Way in that they proclaim the Way (Jesus) as the only path to fellowship with God, salvation, and the peace that passes understanding. Since there is salvation in no one else, the Way is the only legitimate path to proclaim. There is a narrowness to this truth, of course, for “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:13-14). Outside of this Way, there is destruction. Inside this Way, there is life.
Because of what Jesus did, the way to salvation and access to the presence of God is opened up. The barriers that get in the way are torn down, sin is forgiven, and the abundant life is freely given. The Hebrews writer speaks of the confidence Christians can have “to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” (Heb 10:19-20). This is a “living way” supplied by the Savior who died and rose again. Because of what He did, the Way is secure and sure. Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (v. 23). God delivers what He promises. Let us, then, believe in and follow the Way, Jesus Christ!