“A Word for this Week” Pastor Bill Mugnolo: HARP Pastoral Advisor
Week of May 15-21, 2017: “No Ordinary Holiday Dinner Party … John 14:6
In an unnamed house in an upper room just over a dozen people gathered for a holiday dinner party. But why was this one in any way special? After all, there were thousands of other dinners like this being celebrated that night in that “small” city.
But thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, the events of this Passover meal—the Last Supper of Jesus before His death—went “viral” through the pens of the Gospel writers. We are told of what Jesus did in washing His disciples’ feet and in establishing the Lord’s Supper. There were also His stunning words—especially those of John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father except by me.” Let’s now take a closer look at these extraordinary and exclusive words of Our Lord:
I am: This literally means “I myself and no other”. John’s Gospel has numerous “I Am” statements of Jesus. But we only see their full meaning as they point back to Exodus 3:14 where God indentifies Himself as “I Am who I Am”. Therefore, Jesus, in calling Himself “I Am”, is speaking as God Himself, before all things and all others (John 8:58).
The: Note how Jesus doesn’t say “I am a way, a truth, a life”. He uses the definite article (the) to speak of Himself as the exclusive way of salvation. There are not “many paths to the same summit”. There is only Jesus Christ who alone can save (Acts 4:12).
Way: Literally, Jesus is the road. A mountain road might have many twists, turns, and steep climbs. But it is, most often, the only way through rough mountainous terrain. In your life with all of its twists, turns, and uphill climbs, Jesus is the only road that will safely get you through (Isaiah 35:8-9).
The Truth: This literally means that Jesus is reality over and against that which is illusion. Jesus, as the truth, shows you the illusion of your sin (Romans 1:18). He brings you back to God as, in Him, you “know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32)
And the Life: This word for life here means “the absolute fullness of life both in body and in spirit.” This is the abundant life that Jesus promises to give you (John 10:10).
Truly, Jesus’ Last Supper was no ordinary holiday dinner party. His exclusive claim in John 14, while troubling to most, is a comfort to believers as it comes from the Lord who says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, Believe also in me” (John 14:1).