“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Jesus saith unto him . . . !
That is, unto Thomas, one of the twelve, who had just expressed his ignorance, and then asked a question. “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”
To him Jesus replied, “I am the way . . . no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
He is speaking of the way to the Father!
While His own soul was greatly troubled, because His hour was at hand, the Lord took time out to give solace to troubled hearts. He had told His disciples that He was about to leave them, and they needed consolation.
Let not your hearts be troubled . . . !
In my Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . and whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
How strange that He should say this, when apparently they had no conception of His departure at all; nor did they understand His destination, or the way to that destination!
Perhaps we are to understand this as Jesus’ method of soliciting from Thomas his expression of ignorance and his question; in order that He might give His disciples the light they so sorely needed.
He was going to the Father!
And to the Father He is the only way!
No man cometh unto the Father, but by me!
Always in Scripture, and especially in the gospel of John, we are confronted with the question: to whom does the term “Father” refer? Does it have reference to the Triune God? That the term is used in both senses can very easily be demonstrated. However, we are more particularly interested now in its significance in our text.
The context makes it plain that the Lord uses the term as referring to the Triune God. As such, God is His Father as He appears in human nature, as Mediator and Saviour of His people; and God is our Father therefore for Jesus’ sake.
In the preceding context Jesus speaks of the disciple’s faith in God, and immediately thereupon He says: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” It is plain that He is still speaking of God when He speaks of Him as Father. And there is no indication that He has changed this significance when in the text He speaks of the way to the Father.
The Triune God therefore is spoken of in the endearing term of “Father.” He is, first of all, the Father of Jesus according to His human nature. The Man Jesus came forth into the world, not by the will of man, but by the will of God. But that He speaks of God in terms of His Fatherhood is especially for the benefit of His disciples, and the entire church of Christ. In and through the Man Christ Jesus, God is become our Father for Jesus’ sake. And by His saving grace we are become sons and daughters of God Most High; and we are taught to address Him as “our Father which art in heaven.”
Important it is to see at this point that the Triune God is the covenant God, Who apart from any consideration of the creature, lives eternally His own perfect divine life in three Persons. There is in the being of God an interchange and fellowship of Persons who seek and find in each other a bond of love. The Father through the Son in the Spirit live together the perfect covenant life of God. Though this divine covenant relation is self-sufficient and needs not anything, least of all the creature, to make it perfect; God has determined nevertheless to take to Himself a people who shall share in His own covenant life. He has chosen that people eternally and sovereignly in Christ, and everything else God has willed must serve to the realization of that people and the perfection of this eternal purpose, namely, to establish with them and realize in them His own covenant life. Hence, the covenant is not the way to the Father, as some would have it, but it is the central purpose of the Father, and all must serve that purpose.
God has willed eternally to tabernacle with His people in Christ!
Not, you understand, has God chosen to dwell with all men. Nor has He determined to dwell with all those who choose to dwell with Him. It should forever be established that not man determines who shall dwell with God, but He alone sovereignly determines this. Though Father’s house has many mansions, and therefore many sons and daughters shall dwell with Him, His people are limited to no more or no less than those whom He has chosen in Christ to be redeemed by Him.
And, as in an earthly home father with mother share in being the center about whom the whole life and activity of the home evolves, so it is, only in the most perfect sense, in Father’s house. Take father and mother out of the home, and that very moment the idea of the home ceases. Take God out of the house of many mansions, and its central purpose is destroyed. He has willed to be the, center of attraction, and to receive the glory and praise of all His dear children. “This people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise.”
This is Father’s will!
It cannot be frustrated!
The way of which the text speaks leads to Him!
And that way is Jesus!
He is the Son of God, Who is become the Son of Man! He, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, yea, very God of God, according to His divine nature, became the Son of Man. He, Who was and is eternally in the bosom of the Father, united Himself with human nature in the womb of a virgin of the house and lineage of David. A complete human nature He assumed, like unto us, though without sin. In the Person of the Son the two natures, divine and human, unite, and in such a way that they are unmixed, unchanged, undivided, and inseparable.
Thus, in Jesus, we see God’s way to Himself!
Because there was no one among God’s people that could prepare the way and bring them on the way to the Father, God Himself came, in the Person of His Son, to become the way.
The only way to the Father!
You see, by nature God’s people are not the children of God. By nature they are children of wrath, as are all the children of men. They are all conceived and born in sin, are dead in trespasses and sins. They are children of darkness, and therefore have no right to dwell in Father’s house. Corrupt are they, inclined to all evil, and incapable of doing any good. Totally depraved are they, and worthy of everlasting damnation.
Shall the elect therefore become the children of God, and made fit to dwell in Father’s house, they must be changed!
And shall they be changed, God must come Himself, in the Person of His Son, and unite Himself to them. He must in their nature assume their guilt, and bearing that guilt, pass under His own righteous judgment, and bear His own righteous wrath until the guilt is paid for and removed, and His people are made perfectly righteous before Him. He must grant them forgiveness of sins, and the right to eternal life. He must adopt them legally, and inscribe the adoption papers with His own blood.
In all this, Jesus is the way!
But there is much more!
Not only must He justify His people. He must also sanctify them. He must change them spiritually from children of darkness into children of light. Whereas they were vile, He must make them clean. Whereas they were liars and subject to the lie, He must give them the truth once more, and cause them to love and to speak the truth. Whereas they are spiritually dead, He must make them spiritually alive.
In all this, Jesus is the way!
For when He suffered and died for them and in their stead, God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him to His right hand, where He gave unto Him the Spirit without measure. By this Spirit, now as the Spirit of Christ, God’s people are sanctified, and made to become spiritually the children of God.
But even so, not all is said! He must call them efficaciously by His Spirit and Word out of the world, and form them into the people of God, and lead them by His grace, His Word and Spirit, and bring them at last into Father’s house with its many mansions, which He is now preparing for them.
In all this, Jesus is the way!
He is the way, because He is the truth and the life!
Such is the significance of His word to Thomas, to the disciples, and through them to the entire church of Christ!
Thomas saith unto Him, Lord we know not wither Thou goest!
Now, Thomas and all the disciples must know that He is going to His God, and their God for His sake!
Moreover, Thomas asks the question: And how can we know the way?
Now, Thomas and all the disciples, yea, and all His people can know that He only is the way to the Father!
Shall God’s people go to the Father, which they shall surely do, they must go to Him through Jesus!
Objectively this is realized through the redeeming work of Christ accomplished for, them as their Mediator and Saviour. Subjectively this is realized in them by the Spirit and Word of Christ as it us applied unto them by His saving grace.
Jesus had said unto His disciples: Ye believe in God, believe also in Me. Going to the Father through faith in Christ, we shall come to Him, our God and Father. And when we shall see Him in the face of His Son, we shall be like Him, for we will be transformed so that we conform to His image. In us His adopted children He shall see the likeness of Himself and be glorified!
No longer shall we be of the lie, but of the truth!
No longer shall we be dead in sins, but alive unto righteousness!
With Him shall we tabernacle!
World without end!