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In this series we are studying the seven “I Am” statements of Christ found in John’s Gospel. When Jesus said the words “I Am” preceding each of these statements, He was purposely connecting Himself with the word “Yahweh,” the Hebrew name for God which means “I Am.”
Like last week, we’re going to study two statements today. Jesus’ 5th and 6th “I Am” statements are two different statements spoken to two different audiences in two different settings, but they go hand in hand because they share one element - Jesus saying He is the Life.
Jesus’ 5th “I Am” statement is found in John 11, and it took place as Jesus was talking to Martha after her brother Lazarus had died and before Jesus raised him from the dead:
John 11:21-26a (ESV)
21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.
Now, before we get into the lesson we’re going to go ahead and also look at Jesus’ 6th “I Am” statement found in John 14. The setting of this dialogue takes place while Jesus was eating the Passover meal with his disciples, just before He was arrested. The question leading up to this statement came as the result of Jesus saying He was going away to His Father and the disciples could not yet go:
John 14:4-6 (ESV)
[Jesus talking] 4And you know the way to where I am going.”
5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Okay, here We Go!
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
We’re going to go backwards today and begin with Jesus’ 6th “I Am” statement. In the passage we just read, Jesus told His disciples they knew the way to the Father because they knew Him. Jesus IS the way to the Father. When we know Christ, we don’t simply have the knowledge of the way, we have a personal relationship with the One Who IS the way!
Just as we’ve talked about the last few weeks, the word “life” means eternal life and earthly life. But in this passage Jesus is saying there is no other way and no other truth which lead to eternal life with the Father.
There is no other way and no other truth outside of Jesus Christ which lead to eternal life in Heaven with God!
The word translated “truth” in this passage means “reality,” as opposed to an “illusion.” Contrary to what culture tells us today, truth is not relative. There is one truth, and Jesus Christ is that truth. He was the personification of truth. Everything He did, everything He said, and everything He was is our standard by which we measure truth.
There’s a saying, “live your truth,” meaning as long as you live true to what you believe, then you are living well and will be fulfilled. But, if your truth is actually a lie, then you’re living true to a lie. Anything outside of belief in Jesus Christ as the way to salvation is a lie and leads to death:
John 8:42-45 (ESV)
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
I have to point out that the recipients of this passage are the religious leaders! Just because someone is a religious leader does not mean they are from God or an influencer for truth. As Christians, the Holy Spirit helps us discern truth. After Jesus told His disciples He was the way, the truth, and the life, He went on to tell them that even though He was leaving them, they would not be alone:
John 14:16-17 (ESV)
16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Jesus was saying that even though He (Who was Truth) was leaving them, He was sending the Spirit of truth to not only be with them, but to be in them.
The Holy Spirit in us is Truth in us!
And that Truth in us helps us discern truth as we walk out our life on earth.
To stand on Biblical truth as being the singular truth is not at all popular today. But remember, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. He doesn’t represent himself as he is, but he represents himself as God is. So again, since Jesus is Truth, Satan disguises himself as truth when he’s actually the father of lies. Satan is lies disguised as truth, just as he is darkness disguised as light and death disguised as life.
The Bible says those living in darkness “do not understand” and are slaves to sin. Before Jesus spoke the passage we just read about the religious leaders being of their father the devil, the father of lies, He said this:
John 8:31-34 (ESV)
31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
This is why so many people are confused and desperate for peace and freedom. They are not living in freedom, yet they think they are free. There is a single truth that leads to freedom, and that Truth is Jesus Christ. Anything other than belief in Jesus as the way to Heaven is a lie, no matter how culturally incorrect or unpopular it is to believe so. To live according to that lie is to be a child of the devil and a slave to sin.
To truly allow ourselves to think about this is intense and difficult.
Oh Lord, help us to see the people in our lives through this truth in order to increase our urgency to show them Who You are.
The Resurrection and the Life
We’re going to switch over, now, to Jesus’ 5th “I Am” statement. Remember, in this passage Jesus was talking to Martha after Lazarus had died. Martha told Jesus she knew Lazarus would be resurrected in the last days, but Jesus wanted Martha to know something else. He said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.” What Jesus was saying was that the resurrection was not only an event which would take place in the distant future, but the Resurrection was also a Person Who had PRESENT POWER to resurrect - and He was that Person!
Jesus is the Person Who leads to eternal life. He is the Person Who brings us from spiritual death to spiritual life. And He is the Person Who can bring back to life what we thought was dead! Marriages, relationships, health, dreams - when we have an encounter with the Resurrector, they can come back to life!
Jesus is the Bread of life.
He is the Light of life.
He is the Way to life.
And He is the RESURRECTOR of life.
Jesus IS life!
When I wrote this lesson, I really stopped to think about this concept of “life.” We’ve talked about this word meaning eternal life and earthly life, but the word “life” has one other definition we haven’t talked about:
“vitality, vigor, or energy” (Google:).
So many people are searching for this type of “life.” The problem is, they’ll keep searching until the day they die unless they find Christ. Although other religions and things of earth can bring temporary vitality, vigor, and energy, and can temporarily make us feel “alive,” nothing of earth can fill us with this type of “life” unconditionally and continually. Jesus IS life - again, in every sense of the word. So Christ IS vitality, vigor, and energy. Even though things of earth can cause us to feel these things, when we have Christ in us, these things simply exist in us!
When we have Christ in us, we have Life in us!
Today we’ve talked about Jesus being the only way, so to close out the lesson we’re going to go back to the analogy of the sheep pen and the door from last week. I want to show you a couple other passages in which that same word for “door” is found:
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Luke 13:23-24 (ESV)
23And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Because it is just Jesus. He is the only door, the only way, and the only truth. Period. And entrance through Christ requires surrender to Christ.
Do you find it odd to see the word “strive” in the passage we just read? I thought we didn’t have to strive for salvation?
That word translated “strive” means “to contend” or “to struggle,” and it was in reference to the athletic games of ancient times. It’s the same word found in these Scriptures:
1 Co. 9:25 (NIV)
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Timothy 6:12a (ESV)
Fight the good fight of the faith.
Jesus is not saying we have to work for salvation or work to get to Heaven. Jesus is the way to Heaven - He did all the work on the cross! We must, however, surrender our lives to Him in order to enter through Him. For many, this is something they wrestle with, or contend with, before they choose to surrender. And so many more decide the cost is simply too great.
What is the cost?
Matthew 16:24 (ESV)
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
To follow Jesus Christ is to surrender everything to Him, to value and love Him above all else on earth. But those who decide the cost is too much don’t understand that the “cost,” this denial of self Jesus is talking about, is actually not a cost at all. When we choose to sacrifice the desires of the flesh to step through the Door of Christ, it is actually our first step into the most gratifying, fulfilling, joyous life that can be had on this side of Heaven. Remember, we’re stepping into LIFE. The “cost” is only visible when viewed from outside the door!
Once inside the sheep pen we see that LIFE was waiting for us on the inside!
We see that the “cost” wasn’t really a cost at all. Paul says it in such an awesome way in Philippians:
Philippians 3:7-9a (NLT)
7I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9and become one with him.
So many see the sheep pen as a place opposite of freedom, when it is through Christ we receive freedom and life: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1), “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36), and
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (ESV)
16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
Through Christ “the veil is removed” - we understand and our path is enlightened. Through Christ the glory (remember, the light) of God transforms us so we also shine the glory (the light) of God! And through Christ (the Way, the Truth, the Resurrection, the Life) we are set free to live LIFE to the full!
Oh Lord, thank You for laying down Your life to become the Door for my salvation. Thank You that I have Truth IN me and Life IN me. Help me STRIVE TO surrender everything to You, and give me the courage to go out into the world and proclaim truth to the world.