Part 6: Jesus is Your True Path
Scripture Text: John 14:6
1. We’re continuing the season of Lent this week, and throughout we will be in the Gospel of John.
a. There are 7 “I Ams” statements Jesus makes throughout John’s Gospel and they are the glue which holds it together.
b. We are spending each week through Easter looking at an “I Am” statement in the order they appear in John’s gospel and how they have the power to unfreeze your faith and draw you into intimate relationship with God.
2. The next “I Am” is the most controversial one. Read John 14:6
a. When Jesus says I Am the Way what many read is “I am the ONLY way.” And they don’t like it.
i. This sounds like a claim for the exclusivity of Christianity’s pathway to God and a state of holiness.
ii. It begs the question, “What about the paths presented by other religions? Does Jesus’ statement mean they aren’t ways?”
b. Trying to figure out which ways are best is natural for humans. We use our brains to their potential when we compare, evaluate.
i. But we also tend to take exclusive truths and use them to exclude. We’re always needing to prop ourselves up; justify ourselves. Our self-esteem has always been fragile.
ii. Throughout our history, exclusive claims have lead to persecution, discrimination, war and genocide.
3. So we want to be careful with this I Am statement, but we also want to call a spade a spade. It is an exclusive claim. It takes too much effort to try to read it any other way.
a. He uses the word “Truth.” Which means really true, a fact, a reality in any possible context.
b. He uses the word “Life.” Which means ‘real’ life, essential, whole, physical and spiritual.
c. He uses the article “the.” I am THE way, THE truth, etc.
d. He says “No One comes to the Father except through me.” No one is a negating conjunction which allows no exceptions.
e. And then there’s the thing about using the words “I AM” in the first place.
i. We’ve learned that this is Jesus co-opting God’s own name, first given to Moses through the burning bush. When Jesus says “I Am” he’s saying “I Am God!”
f. If we don’t like what Jesus says here, we’re forced to say that the writer of this gospel made this up years later. Jesus never really said it. And that’s what many have done.
4. But Jesus is the Way to what? I think this is where many have missed the point. Most assume he’s saying “Way to be right” and that’s only partially true.
a. Jesus actually means “I am the Way of Rescue.” “I’m here to save you.”
i. He begins this speech with the disciples with the words “Don’t let your hearts be troubled, don’t be afraid, trust me.”
ii. In a few hours he will be arrested and sent to his execution. All will seem lost.
iii. Jesus says, “I’ll be back, and I’ll take you to myself so where I am you’ll be as well.” And
that’s what happened. That’s Easter.
b. We’ve been tracking some interesting parallels between John’s Gospel and the Exodus story in the Old Testament.
i. When you think of an example of God making a way which rescued the Hebrews from certain death, you may think of the miraculous passage through the Red Sea on dry land.
ii. John is showing Jesus is the new Moses, God guiding his people to ultimate safety: eternal life in the promised land of heaven.
5. Usually, if someone’s in peril – buried in a mountain avalanche or stranded on a balcony of a burning house – when someone comes to rescue them they don’t wait for better
a. There’s a well-worn joke about someone who’s sitting on his roof surrounded by flood waters and he prays to God to rescue him. Someone in a canoe comes to rescue him and he says, “No, I’m waiting for God.” A police boat comes, then a National Guard helicopter, and he refuses each time, saying the same thing. When his house goes completely underwater and he’s about to drown he calls out to God, “Why didn’t you rescue me?” God says, “I sent you a canoe, boat and helicopter – what more do you want?”
b. God actually mounted one, perfect rescue effort. That’s Jesus.
6. Let me ask you a question, what does a rescue need to be in order for you to trust it to truly save you?
a. First off, I would bet that it would need to meet the severity of your peril with ability to save.
i. If you’re being mugged by a gang of armed thugs a 7-year old rescuer with a squirt gun isn’t going to do it. You want Schwarzenegger.
b. Secondly, you would want your rescuer to not only get you out of peril but deliver to safety.
i. You wouldn’t want a helicopter to pull you off a flooded housetop and set you down in the middle of a forest fire.
c. And, third, you would have to just know. You would be free to trust. Yes, another rescuer could be just around the corner but you don’t need to wait.
d. The essential question is whether Jesus meets these criteria.
i. As CS Lewis once wrote “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
7. A few years ago I needed rescue. I was on the roof surrounded by a flood of failure and broken relationships. And Jesus came to rescue me and I stepped in his boat. I’ve been safe ever since.
a. Since then, I haven’t encountered any other means of rescue which makes me regret that choice.
b. So I have no problem urging someone else to not wait for a better option and let him rescue them.
c. It’s counter-productive to bash other potential means of rescue. I just want to say, “get in the boat!”
8. Something about this ever-present light is like a 100-degree sunny day for a block of ice. It has the power to unfreeze your faith.
a. Each week I’m going to give you three ‘thaw levels’ for Jesus to unfreeze you now and over coming week – if you’re willing to go there.
b. Warm: do you need rescue?
c. Medium: has Jesus fulfilled his promise to save you and keep you safe?
d. Hot: is Jesus asking you to help him rescue others? Where are they, what is he doing, and are you joining him?