This is the fourth stand-alone edition of the short Bible Study Notes, which have hitherto been attached to the Newsletter. It is hoped that these provide a regular and helpful contribution to the congregation’s knowledge of Holy Scripture.
THE “I AM” STATEMENTS OF JESUS
PLEASE READ THE GOSPEL OF JOHN CHAPTER 14
The verse which we will be focusing on particularly this month is John 14:6 I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.
It will be immediately obvious even on a cursory reading, that the Lord Jesus is not revealing one facet of his nature but rather three, and so, in order to do justice to this statement we will need to study them over three months. So we begin with I am the Way.
During this series of short studies we have heard Jesus describe Himself as the Door to the sheepfold. As such He tells us that He uniquely, is the way into heaven and eternal life. Now He explains that He is also the Way in which His people should walk in their life’s journey. We do not enter into a saving relationship with God in order to carry on as though we were unchanged.
The fact is that when we enter through the door of faith, and trust on; and in; and into Him for salvation we instantly become new creatures with a new heart and a new set of priorities and orientations. Things which were once a bore and uninteresting, like prayer, the Word of God, and attendance at church, become thrilling. Things, which took up our time and were perhaps sinful, are seen for what they are, and we no longer wish to have anything to do with them. This does not happen over night in all cases but there should be a steady progress of the soul toward the things of God. This work is carried out in the soul of the believer by the Holy Spirit. He begins to dwell in the believer’s heart the moment they trust in Jesus and they begin to journey on the Way. It cannot be stressed too much that we must set out on the right way – the way of Christ. He himself warns in Matthew 7:13 “Enter in by the narrow gate (that is by Christ). For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter are many. For the gate is narrow and the way hard that leads to life and those who find it are few.
This passage warns us of the great danger of attempting to live our lives outside of Christ and without Him to guide us. The temptation to try to earn our way into heaven by our own effort is very strong, and one often hears “I try to be a Christian” “ I try to do the best I can” “ I think I’m as good as the next one “ etc. The fact is that only those who hear and answer the call of the Good Shepherd will enter onto the right way for they will be following Jesus.
It is interesting to note that the early disciples were called followers of “The Way” You will find this in the book of Acts 9:2,19:9,23, 22:4, 24:14,22. But what is “THE WAY”?
Lets imagine we were interviewing the Apostle Paul and we were trying to find out what THE WAY was. It might go something like this.
Question: How did you get started on this Way Paul?
Answer: Acts 22:3 tells us he would begin with a précis of his up bringing and training. He would say that he was outstandingly zealous for the Jewish religion to the point that he persecuted and imprisoned Christians and willingly participated in their execution. Then he would say that while he was going about persecuting these people, he was confronted by the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. He was blinded by the radiance of the risen Lord, overwhelmed by the power of His Life and the purity of His Being. From that moment on he was a changed man. Acts 22:1-22.
Question: What is it like to walk in this Way?
Answer: It is the most exciting, rewarding, challenging, life affirming journey you could imagine, for I am serving my Master and there is nothing I will not do for Him, because He has first loved me, while I was still a sinner, from before the foundation of the world. Romans 5:8
Question: What is the Way?
Answer: In a nutshell I will use my Master’s words in the Gospel of John 6:38 He said: For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me”. KJV
Question: How has it been for you, Paul, following this Jesus?
Answer: It has been hard. I have been imprisoned more than once. I have been beaten, scourged, had my life threatened; I have been put on trial, mocked, shipwrecked, abused, run out of town and scorned by my own people and the intelligentsia, and yet in all this I have been content, for I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I might gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
Question: Have you ever thought of giving up Paul?
Answer: Not for an instant! I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14 NLT
Now few of us will experience a conversion like the Apostle Paul, or live his magnificent life, yet in some respects all believers will experience some kind of personal engagement with Jesus. That is the point! A personal moment of decision for Christ, issuing in a life lived in His service.
Scholarly historians inform us that the Apostle Paul went on to be tried at Rome and was, after some time in the Mamertime Prison in Rome, beheaded around 64/68 AD.