From: Bob Williams
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” in speaking about how to get to Heaven in John 14:6. While the context for this verse begins in the previous chapter, verse 1 of chapter 14 is key where Christ said, “ye believe in the Father, believe also in me,” to His disciples. Christ knew their faith would soon be sorely tested and He was strengthening their faith in Him so they would be more like faithful Abraham who “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform,” Romans 4:20-21.
In the John passage Christ was continuing the education of His disciples in preparation for His impending death and departure, which the disciples did not understand. Luke 18:34 records that “they understood none of these things ... neither knew they the things that were spoken,” after Christ informed them of His death, burial and resurrection. John 12:16 tells us, “These things understood not his disciples at the first, but when Jesus was glorified they remembered.” This is eye-opening to those who profess that Jesus Christ’s disciples proclaimed as their gospel the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, yet they “understood none of these things” until after Christ’s resurrection.
They did preach what they were taught and that was that Christ was who He claimed to be: their prophesied Messiah, “God with us.” The disciples implored Israel to “repent,” or change their minds and believe this, for Christ “came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John 1:11,12. This same gospel was proclaimed to Israel into the Acts period. Jews were expected to believe that Christ was fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies about Israel’s Messiah, the coming Kingdom and the “redemption of Jerusalem.” Thus when Jesus said, “I am,” seven times in the Book of John, He was providing evidence that He was God incarnate, which is how John presents Jesus.
This is what Israel as a nation and as individuals had to believe in order to be saved and attain Heaven. It is universally true that Christ is “the way,” or the one and only, not one of many ways — “the truth,” not just any belief, and “the life,” not in any other person or means, and is applicable for all eternity as Truth. It is also true that the only way to the Father is through the Son, regardless of what you believe or are taught. “Believe” is the operative factor. However, if today you only believe the gospel to the Jews, that Christ was who He claimed to be, you will not end up in Heaven. The gospel for this dispensation is that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” 1 Cor. 15:1-4. Believe this, and only this, and you will be saved. Treasure and learn from the rest of the Scriptures, but place them where they belong — you’ll be much happier and healthier spiritually.