Ever since I decided to do a Lent series on the “I am” statements of Jesus, I was nervous for this post. I decided to take the statements of Jesus chronologically, so that I could not avoid it. So that when the day came, I would have to write about John 14:6.
““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” –John 14:6
These are narrow words. They are words that bring some to their theological soap boxes and others to their word grenades. These words are the cause of many lying wounded on the battlefield of religion.
For today, I want to pretend the word “the” is not in this verse: just think of it as “a.” Let’s leave the arguments and theological posturing for another time.
Am I taking the easy way out? Maybe. But I think there is grace here that is often missed in the discussion. I don’t want to miss it today.
I want to see the grace found in Jesus as way, truth, and life.
When I was growing up, it was not uncommon for me to lock myself out of my house. I would get off the bus, reach in my pocket, and feel my stomach sink. Angry that I made the mistake. Afraid because I now had to live with the consequences.
I lived in the country and beat my mom home from work by a few hours. This was before the days of cell phones, so my options were limited. Wait on the front porch in the cold or go to my scary neighbor’s house to use the phone? I usually picked the option of waiting it out.
I remember the day my brother discovered there was a particular place you could kick the front door when it was locked, to make the door open. This was an hallelujah moment. There was a way in. I did not have to sit on the chilly hard porch anymore if I forgot my key.
Faith can feel like that. Like God is hiding behind a locked door. Like if we make a mistake, if we forget the key, we will be stuck out on the front porch, waiting in the cold.
Jesus says no. A mistake does not lock us out of a life with God. Jesus, God Himself, provides a way.
Yet now, my analogy breaks down. The reason I was excited about the door kicking option is because it meant I didn’t have to own up. I could get into the house without ever confessing to my mom that I had forgotten my key.
But the way of Jesus is truth. This is frightening, but also life-giving. It means we do not have to hide.
The way of Jesus means facing the truth of who we are. Admitting the mistakes. And, in perhaps the hardest step, trusting that this is enough. Believing that Jesus takes care of it for us.
The door is open. The hard part is trusting that we can walk through it.
And then comes the assurance that goes against the grain of our society. That when we honestly own up to our mistakes, when we choose to trust instead of posture, when we choose authenticity above appearances, that this way, this way of Jesus, is life.
I do believe Jesus is referring to eternal life in this verse, but I also believe He is referring to something more.
Keeping up appearances can be exhausting. Striving to be good enough. Working to earn favor. Hiding from the past. Fearing for the future. Hoping no one finds out about our secrets.
It is a trap that drains the life right out of us.
Yes, if we have chosen the way of Jesus, our lives should reflect Him. We should be people who follow His model of righteousness. But not at the sacrifice of grace.
The way that provides life is the way that gives permission to be our true selves. Everyday.
Read the post before this one, Are Confidence and Humility Opposites?