Jesus has just told his disciples that one of them would betray him and that Peter himself would deny him. They’re probably all looking around in suspicion, fear, and anxiety, so Jesus speaks to comfort them. “Don’t be anxious. And don’t interpret your lives by the circumstances that are about to happen. You trust God; trust me too.”
He then talks about his Father’s house, which they most likely interpret to mean the temple, but Jesus is talking about the temple above, or heaven. In king’s palaces back them, the king and all his family lived there, no matter how many of them there were. In ancient temples, often the priests would have a room to stay in. What he is saying is that when something happens to him, they are not to be fearful, but hopeful. Despite the coming danger, their ultimate destiny is secure with Him. “And I’ll be back.” We can be sure the disciples did not fathom what he was saying, but that’s no reason for him not to speak it. “I’ve told you before where I’m going, so you know what I’m talking about.”
Thomas speaks up for the group: “We don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”
Then Jesus lays out for them some of the deepest mysterious of the universe: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus presented himself as the final key to all mysteries. He didn’t say he knew the way, spoke the truth, and understood life. He didn’t say he taught them. He wasn’t declaring a new religion. He wasn’t tossing out a new philosophy, ritual, or code. He was calling himself the focal point of all that is.
Jesus is the way to God and the only way to God. Jesus was not pointing the way, but his very character IS the way—to God, to life, to truth, to heaven, to relationship, to love.
Jesus is the very personification of truth. Truth isn’t an abstract philosophy, a logical proposition, or even definitions that correspond to reality. Truth is a person. His being corresponds to the basic principles of the universe, and he himself is the basic defining principle of the universe. All reality is in God, who is the only true reality (this is far different from pantheism, by the way). Truth is Jesus’ nature; it is both grounded in him and emanates from his being. He is the absolute standard to which all things must ultimately be compared, and the objective ground of truth.
Jesus is the center of life. All life originates with God. Jesus is the only one who can confer divine vitality.
Without Jesus there is no possible way to relate to God, for there is no approach, no truth, and no life. Tenney says, “Without the way there is no going, without the truth there is no knowing, and without the life there is no living.” We’re not talking about religion here, we’re talking about the essence of existence itself.
Despite their love for Jesus, they hadn’t really come to know him, so Jesus says it’s knowing God through Jesus that counts.
The disciples still don’t get it. Philip chimes in, “So, show us God.”
Jesus, with a bit of dismay says, “This is what I’ve been telling you all along. If you’ve seen me, then you have also seen God.” God would not and could not get any clearer than this. If God had shown himself as light, or in his glory, as he did to Moses and to Elijah, he would have been incomprehensible. But God, in Jesus, was infinitely understandable, touchable, seeable, hearable, able to be questioned, and copied. Here was the best revelation of God anyone could have asked or dreamed for.
And then he adds, “If you know me, love me, and follow me, then you will carry on what I’ve started to a far greater degree. The whole will be blessed by what I do in you and through you, and God will get the glory.”