"I am the way and the truth and the life...." (John 14:6)

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

What does Jesus mean by 'the way and the truth and the life'?

"The way," from the Greek ὁδός (hodos), indicates a passage or path. When used metaphorically, according to the lexicon, it is a "course of conduct," and "a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding. Jesus provides "the way" with his teachings. Should his students follow his teachings, they will reach God.

"The truth," from the Greek ἀλήθεια (alētheia), indicates knowledge that accesses reality, and access to the Supreme Being. "Truth" is pure knowledge and the means by which we can come to know the Supreme Being.

"The life," from the Greek ζωή (zōē), indicates happiness and fulfillment and living in a manner pleasing to the Supreme Being.

These elements are all contained in Jesus' teachings. As he states clearly above, he is doing "what pleases Him" and his teachings are coming from God ("These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."). He is, therefore, providing access to the Supreme Being.

In this role, Jesus can certainly claim to be their sole access to the Supreme Being. Because he has been sent by the Supreme Being to teach them how to return to the spiritual realm.

And how does he bring them back? Through his teachings. By their following his instructions.

'No one' ever?

If Jesus meant "no one" ever; as in no one who ever lives before or after him, he would be invalidating the teachings of Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, Job, Joshua, Samuel, John the Baptist, and many other messengers of God who have delivered those whom they taught. 

Why would they have bothered to teach their students about God? And why did God ask them to teach things to their students if they were not representing the Supreme Being? 

Such a claim would also invalidate Jesus' sending out his own students to teach the same message he taught to them.

When a person truthfully teaches on behalf of someone else after being empowered by that person to represent them, they have become a messenger for that person. For this very reason, we can invalidate the so-many sectarian teachers who are proclaiming that Jesus is the only messenger (teacher) to the Supreme Being. 

Simply by their own preaching they are claiming to represent God. If they then say that Jesus is the only means to God, that is hypocritical.

If we didn't need a teacher outside of Jesus, then why do we need them to preach to us? Why can't we have our own direct access to Jesus?

When Jesus says "me" he is indicating himself in the role of God's representative at a particular time and circumstance. In the same way, when the ambassador in the above analogy tells the foreign government that he is the only means through which they can negotiate with the President, he is not talking to everyone for all time. He is not saying that even after he retires, or even passes away, that he will be the only means for anyone in any foreign government to communicate with the President.

What about 'no comes to the Father except by me'?

What does, "no one comes to the Father except through me" in NIV, or "by me" in other translations mean?

When a person, a messenger or representative, is sent by someone else to represent them, there is an implied exclusivity. The person sent has an exclusive relationship that others don't have. But that doesn't mean the sender will never have another messenger or representative in the past or future.

Otherwise, by saying this, Jesus would effectively be saying that when he sent out his disciples to teach, that he would effectively undermine their authority to teach others. They would not be empowered to pass on the teachings that Jesus was teaching, and John the Baptist had taught before them.

Such a position would not only make no sense. It would effectively delegitimize all those who would come after Jesus to teach about God.

So the authority that Jesus was invoking was effective in that particular time and circumstance, to a particular population of followers.

Let's say the President of a country sends an ambassador to another government to negotiate on his behalf. Here the President is specifically authorizing the ambassador to represent him and wants to keep the lines of communication very clear. 

This means that the foreign government must negotiate directly with the ambassador. If they say they want to talk to the President directly, they would likely hear a similar response from the ambassador: You have to go through me.

Just consider what would happen if the President allowed the foreign government to contact him personally after empowering the ambassador to negotiate on his behalf. The President would be undermining the authority of the ambassador. There would be confusion and miscommunication.

The same would be said for a company executive who delegates management authority to a manager and then continues to instruct that manager's staff directly. That would be undermining the authority of the manager. Everyone would get confused - not knowing who to listen to - and the manager would be effectively muted.

Like a good boss or delegator, the Supreme Being gives full authority to those He selects to represent Him. While His representative is asking us to reach out directly to God and develop our relationship with Him, this is accomplished only via a relationship with His representative.

This can be compared to an introduction by a friend. Say we know a close friend of a rock star. The rock star is well-protected and leery of fans pretending to be "friends." But because we know this friend of the rock star, they introduce us to the rock star. Now once we are introduced, we don't just forget the person who introduced us. 

Our relationship with the rock star will be permanently attached to our friendship with the person who introduced us. Even if we might hang out alone with the rock star, we'll probably be talking about the person who introduced us. That bond will always be there. This is a matter of not only courtesy: It is a matter of relationship.

The relationship between God's representative and the Supreme Being is even deeper than this. They have an intimate relationship of love and loving service, evidenced by Jesus' saying that "I always do what pleases Him." God's representative has dedicated his life to God. He has given everything to God. He is fully dependent upon and trusting the Supreme Being.

So yes, it is clear that Jesus is telling his disciples that they need to go through him to reach God. This is because Jesus is their spiritual teacher. He is representing God. God has empowered him to represent Him.

And should we come to know God's representative, we can also come to know the Supreme Being. We can also come to know the intimate relationship between God and God's loving servant. And we can see within that relationship the kind of love that exists between God and His children.

We can know that the Supreme Being loves us unconditionally, and know that He knows we will only be happy when we return to His loving arms as we come to understand Jesus' most important teaching:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)

Could this mean that Jesus is God?

Some have claimed that this statement proves that Jesus is God. Could this be true?

Jesus has clarified the existence of the Supreme Being as separate from himself many times. He has also indicated that he is representing the Supreme Being. That he was sent by the Supreme Being. How could Jesus be God if God sent him?

Consider just a few of the many statements Jesus clarifies this role:
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:34)
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
"For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me." (John 5:36)
"And the Father who sent me has Himself testified concerning me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form" (John 5:37)
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
"And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day." (John 6:39)
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)
"Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me." (John 6:57)
Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me." (John 7:16)
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but He who sent me is true."(John 7:28-29)
Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the One who sent me." (John 7:33)
"But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:16)
"I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me." (John 8:18)
"I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world." (John 8:26)
"The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him." (John 8:29)
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me." (John 8:42)
"As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." (John 9:4)
[Jesus praying to God]"I knew that You always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me." (John 11:42)
Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the One who sent me." (John 12:44)
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49)
"I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the One who sent me." (John 13:20)
Are these statements by Jesus not clear enough that God sent Jesus? Even later in this very discussion with Jesus' disciples, Jesus states:
"These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:24)
So how could Jesus be the Supreme Being if he says that the words he is speaking are not his own but God's? Is Jesus trying to fake all his disciples out here? Did he say over and over that God sent him just to fool them?

Certainly not. Jesus is simply not the Supreme Being. He is clearly, according to himself, sent by the Supreme Being. He is providing a means for his students to access the Supreme Being. He is providing a vehicle for them to return to the spiritual realm.



*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Jesus said to him, “I am the path, the truth and the life: None of you will come before the Creator except through me." (John 14:6)