The I AM Statements of Christ
By Warren Wiersbe
Jesus in the Present Tense
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I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. Psalm 119:30
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. John 6:63
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 1 Timothy 2:5-6
This day … I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life. Deuteronomy 30:19–20
The Bible records many farewell addresses. Moses gave the longest address (thirty-three chapters in Deuteronomy), and Paul’s is one of the shortest (Acts 20:13–35). But of all the farewells given anywhere, surely our Lord’s discourse in the upper room is the deepest (John 13-16). You may read and ponder it again and again and always learn something new.
Jesus gave this discourse to prepare His disciples for His departure, because it would be their privilege and responsibility to carry on His work after He returned to heaven. First, Jesus taught them (John 13—16); next, He prayed for them (John 17); and then, He went out and died for them—and for us. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to empower the believers (Acts 2), and Peter’s ministry that day brought three thousand people to faith in Christ.
Perhaps the most important word in the Upper Room Discourse is Father, which is used fifty-three times. (The word is found over one hundred times in John’s gospel.) Jesus said to His Father, “I have revealed you [your name, Greek text] to those whom you gave me out of the world” (John 17:6), and the name He was referring to was probably “Father.” In the Old Testament, you don’t find God referred to as “Father” very often. Because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, He is able to minister to the hearts of people.
The words troubled (John 14:1, 27) and grieved (John 16:6, 20–22) indicate that the atmosphere in the upper room was serious and sober. While the disciples didn’t fully understand all that was transpiring that night, they knew enough to be concerned; and they were troubled for several reasons. To begin with, they were grieved because their Master was going to leave them and they didn’t feel adequate for the work that lay ahead. Even more, Jesus had announced that a traitor sat at their table, and they wondered who he was. But they were all shocked when Jesus said Peter would deny Him three times! They saw Peter as their leader, and if a bold and important man like Peter failed his Lord, what might the rest of them do?
We have these same sources of sorrow in our lives today. At times we may feel our Lord has deserted us or perhaps given us work to do that is beyond our abilities. Or maybe a friend or an associate has betrayed us, or somebody we admire has fallen and failed. These experiences hurt, and they hurt us the most when we are the ones who have failed.
Our Lord assured the hearts of His disciples by speaking to them about the Father. Jesus had told them that He had come to glorify the Father (John 8:49), and that night He told them that the Holy Spirit would glorify the Son as they served Him (16:14). Children know that father and mother are there to encourage and assist them, and they call for their parents whenever trouble arises. In a similar way, our heavenly Father cares for us. When Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, the Lord replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9).
This helps us better understand the familiar statement in John 14:6. Jesus is the way and takes believers to the Father’s house. Jesus is the truth and reveals the Father’s heart. Jesus is the life and brings the Father to us so we can have His help. We begin the pilgrimage to the Father’s house by trusting Jesus because He is the way. We continue on our journey by learning more truth about Jesus and the Father (2 Peter 3:18). We enjoy both the way and the truth because we share the life of Jesus and obey His will. “Anyone who loves me,” said Jesus, “will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). British preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Little faith will bring your soul to heaven; great faith will bring heaven to your soul.”
Jesus is the way—the only way—to heaven, and heaven is our final home. No matter what circumstances we may experience, knowing that we are destined for the Father’s house is enough to encourage us to keep going. Whenever in our itinerant ministry my wife and I left a church or conference after the final meeting, we always experienced a quiet joy, knowing that we were going home. Our plane might be delayed, or the weather might threaten safe driving, but it made no difference because we were going home. James M. Gray, a former president of Moody Bible Institute, wrote a song with this key theme: “Who can mind the journey when the road leads home?” In the early church, the truth about life in Jesus was often called “the way” (Acts 16:17; 18:25–26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22; 2 Peter 2:21).
Heaven was real to Jesus, and John emphasizes this fact in his gospel. The Father sent Jesus from heaven, a statement made thirty-eight times in John’s gospel. Seven times in John 6, Jesus said that He “came down from heaven.” To Him, heaven was a real place and not a state of mind, as some people want us to believe. He called heaven “my Father’s house” (14:2; see also Ps. 23:6), which means it is a loving home for the family of God.
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Copyright 2011 David C Cook. Jesus in the Present Tense by Warren W. Wiersbe. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Sr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books, including the popular "Be" series of Bible commentaries, which has sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, NE.
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