We hear this all the time: “Jesus is the only way to heaven” or “No one will be saved without knowing Jesus.”
But is that true? Well, not quite.
At least, that’s not what Jesus meant when he said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…” (John 14:6)
Now, most of us have been told that this is what Jesus means to say in this verse, but a careful study of the entire chapter reveals something a bit different.
First of all, this statement is in response to the question asked by Thomas, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
That’s why Jesus said, “I am the way…”
The way to where? The way to where he is going.
Where is Jesus going? He’s going to the Father.
So, this entire chapter is about coming to the Father, not about going to Heaven after we die.
After this, Jesus goes on to explain that if you’ve seen him, you’ve also seen the Father. So, the entire point of the conversation is about knowing the Father.
Notice also that Jesus provides some evidence for us that the Father is in him, and that he is in the Father: His works.
Then notice that Jesus immediately pivots to emphasize that, if we trust in him we will also do the same works he has been doing.
Why is that important? Because the works that Jesus does are evidence that the Father is in him. So, the works that we do are also evidence that Jesus (and the Father) are in us.
The whole conversation is about coming to the Father, and what it means to be in Christ, and about Jesus going to “prepare a place for (us)”, so that where Jesus is, we may also be.
So, if we keep reading in this same chapter we will notice that Jesus reemphasizes this same idea over and over again:
“In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (v.20)
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even 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.” (v. 16-17)
The point is: Jesus is going to the Father. This is what he’s talking about in the beginning of the chapter. The disciples get confused, so Jesus explains that he is going to the Father, and he is the way to the Father because the Father is in him, and the plan is for us to have the Father – and Jesus – living in us so that “where they are we may also be.”
So, where is Jesus? Jesus is with the Father. (v. 12; 28)
And where is the Father? He, and Jesus, have now come to make their home in you and in me. (v. 23)
Notice that Jesus says, in the previous chapter, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” (Jn. 13:36)
That’s what sets up the conversation in chapter 14 about where Jesus is going, why, and how we can also follow him to the place he is going (to be with the Father).
So, this idea of being with the Father, and abiding in Christ, (who abides in us and in the Father), is something we can all experience RIGHT NOW!
We don’t need to wait until after we die to be where Jesus and the Father are. In fact, this is the entire point of Jesus’s going away! It was to prepare a place where we can be together with him and the Father.
Note: Jesus is NOT talking about where we go after we die. Jesus is talking about how we can know him, and the Father, BEFORE we die!
That’s quite a significant difference.
Jesus is the way to know the Father. He is the truth about who the Father is, because if we’ve seen him we’ve also seen the Father. And Jesus is our source for life – right here and now – as we abide in him, and he – and the Father – abide daily in us.
**Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community.
Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean.
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