Why did Jesus say he was the way the truth and the life? Using “Sin” as an explanation

So Jesus says these interesting words in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Throughout those chapters Christ illustrates the irreducible nature of the events he is a part of leading to the culmination of his earthly ministry. But those words, I am the “way, truth, and life” are strong ones. How can we understand these theologically in a deeper way without getting caught up in the trinitarian implications of John 14 and 15. Here Paul illustrates the same point but with a different set of analogies and event structures for one to encounter that I think are helpful here. In fact this is a common thread throughout the Bible. I am of course taking about the use of sin in the Bible. Let me explain.

The Bible illustrates the power and glory of God in Christ by the Spirit by highlighting one of the human condition’s universal realities: our sin. But there’s like a jujitsu move at the end of the story. Sin is ultimately about God in some sense. In fact one writer in the Bible even comes out and says it as about as explicitly as one can in 2 Corinthians 5:21. (Go ahead and read that when you get a chance if you don’t know it.)

Isn’t it crazy that sin is God’s problem more so than it is ours?! In fact he staked his righteousness on it. Because he has become sin for us this changes everything about whom carries the burden of our fate. The implications change everything!

Why is there something rather than nothing Mommy?

Think of it this way. God is not just another object in the cosmos. He is the WHY behind it all. Any problem that is his, is who he is or it doesn’t matter why ultimately. So every problem God is is not just like anything out there, it’s way more significant than that. In other words, there is no objectfiability to whom God is because he is. Since God is not objectifiable neither are people in whose image they have been made and redeemed in, this includes our sin. On a side note, this is why it’s not wise to go out pointing people’s sins as an representative of your Christianity. That is, because we are to speak of the Lord of their whole person not just objectify them to just another meaningless object in the universe. We are to love not hate. How silly does it look to point out ones sin and pretend we can ignore the cross and resurrection, and the one who will judge all. It can often look like one is speaking against the Lord himself. Reconciliation is beyond what we can control. How does one point to ones’ sin if one can’t equally point out the righteousness of God in their sin? The story of ones’ sin is too deep to be obsessed with such control! But I digress. Sorry.

Anyways, hopefully you’re starting to see why the story of sin is so important in the Bible, and why it goes so deep. It’s about something deeper than sin! It’s about who this God is and where we are to find justice for our sin. This God is found in the event of the reconciling Lord of life and death. This Lord shows his love for all in that he has confined all to sin, so that he may be merciful to all despite their sin (despite who he is, if you will). In the whole event of his sacrifice we find out he has become sin for us! (I feel like I can’t repeat that enough.)

He is to be Lord in and through all. No way you get a chance to check him off from the lists of things you have in your life. He is why your life is here in the first place. There are no conditions which humans can do to change their sin, because they would have to be able to change this God we find in this reconciler. Too late. He has risen.

To quote Paul, “For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

Sin all you want but know this, you can not take the Lord of your sin out of this condition. It’s not about ones shortcomings at the end of the day anyway. Ultimately, when every evil deed will require justice settled, when every mistake must be made right, we’ll have to accept who this Lord is or reject ultimate justice outright. It will require the one who is sin to pay up. It will require Jesus. Ultimately, humanity’s encounter with this risen Lord is more significant than an any aspect of the human condition or every travesty is meaningless.

Now do you see why he said he is the way the truth and the life? He wasn’t joking about the stakes of the mission he was on. It’s about who he is. Every time we sin, we sin not just against ourselves, or others, but against the Lord of all.

Come Lord, be in my life what I can not be.

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