by Bryan Marvel
Read John 14:1-14
I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. (v6)
The dominant message of our culture is that it’s all about us. Our personal preferences, style, comfort, and convenience. Recently, I saw a cell phone commercial boasting about a new phone with these words flashing across the television screen. “You laugh, cry, love, work. We hear you. You want change. You are you. Design reflects you. Audio hears you. Intelligence learns you. The future is you.” The message is clear. We are the center of the world, and everything should revolve around us.
When it comes to matters of our spiritual life, this same message is touted. In our culture, we hear, “All truth is equal, so find your own truth. All pathways lead to God, therefore, discover your own path. The life you’ve always wanted is actually deep within you, just dig deep enough and you will find it.” Part of the reason this message is so popular is due to the fact it gives the individual control. Living into this philosophy puts us in the driver’s seat of our lives.
However, as Jesus is winding down His time with the disciples, He had a very different message. His emphasis is not, “do what’s best for you,” or “do whatever you want,” but instead “follow Me.”
In John 14, Jesus has just told His disciples that He is going to leave them and tells them that they know the way to the place He is going. Confused, the disciples start to ask questions and make requests trying to grasp where Jesus is going and how they will know the way to get there.
Jesus then comes right out and says He is the way, that all truth is found in Him, and that He holds the keys to eternal life. In one brief statement, Jesus makes it clear it’s not about us. It’s all about Him.
The radical nature of Jesus is that He is explicitly exclusive in a world that is seeking to be increasingly inclusive. He makes the outrageous claim that He’s far superior to any other god, worldview, or religious system that we could find. They can’t do for us or the world what only He can do, lead people to the Father. And only those who put their faith in, and order their lives around, Him will have access to God.
Even though Jesus is exclusive, He’s also radically inclusive. The beauty of the Gospel is that anyone can have access to God. Jesus isn’t trying to shut people out. He’s actually trying to draw people to Himself. John’s gospel opens with the declaration, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12). But in order to become His child, we first have to surrender all to Him. We have to give up our way, our self-made truth, and the life that we are pursuing, in order to take hold of His ways, the truth about Him, and the life He gives.
The irony is that we’ve settled and we don’t realize it. As C.S. Lewis famously said, “We’re half-hearted creatures… [We] go on making mud pies in a slum because [we] cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” We’ve settled for our own manufactured versions of ourselves and don't experience all that God created us to be.
Jesus ends this section saying that by giving our full allegiance to Him, we will experience greater things and do greater things than He did (John 14:12). While our culture may tell us that the exclusivity of Jesus is restricting, Scripture seems to say it’s liberating. Only when we fully surrender to Him are we truly free.
Jesus is the way. Are you willing to follow?
1. Where do you observe the cultural message, “It’s all about you?” How has this message shaped you?
2. What prevents you from fully surrendering your life to Christ?