Jesus said something very puzzling in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life….” It is baffling because He is not saying what we would expect Him to say. We would expect Jesus to say something like, “I am here to show you the way to God, to tell you what is true, and to explain how you can have a fulfilling life.” Those statements would be correct, but that isn’t what Jesus is saying here.
Jesus is saying something different, and the difference is very important.
We aren’t expecting Jesus to say what He did because we tend to think of religion as a set of rules and instructions. Actually, with one striking exception, every religion claims that they understand the way to know the truth about God and to know what life’s all about. This is what we have come to expect from a religion. Again, though, this is not what Jesus is saying.
Even Christians can lose sight of what Jesus is telling us. We often picture salvation as nothing more than something God wants us to have. Here is the problem. If we believe that God is just offering to PROVIDE salvation, then we naturally want to know what we can do to get it. Maybe we think that way because we are used to having things offered to us. For example, every time we go to Wal-Mart, we see thousands of items on display. We understand that if we pay what’s on the price tag, we can have what they are offering. Jesus is offering something to us, but it is something of incalculable value without a price tag.
Look at the passage above again. Jesus is saying that He is the way to God, the truth about God, and the life we were created to have. What Jesus offers is much more than just some things we need, or a collection of boring beliefs. Jesus is offering Himself to us! You see, salvation is not a creed or a set of beliefs. It is a Person.
Rev. Paris Reidhead, (1919-1992) a Christian missionary and Bible teacher, put it this way: “You see, salvation is not in a plan. Salvation is not in scripture verses. Salvation is not in ordinances and all the scheme of theology. Salvation is not a decision. Salvation is not in the pronouncement of an evangelist, or a pastor, or a teacher.
“Salvation is a Person!
“This is the cardinal truth of our day. Salvation isn’t FROM a person only – it is – but salvation IS a person. David saw this in Psalm 27: ‘Jehovah is my light and my salvation.’”
Jesus is boldly proclaiming that He IS salvation. Later the Apostle John explained that, “… God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:11–12).
Jesus isn’t just offering us the gift of salvation. He is offering to give us Himself! As Bible teacher Dr. D. A. Carson put it, “The Lamb [Jesus] dies, the world lives. The Shepherd dies, the sheep live. Jesus is the gate by which men enter and find life… He is their way.”
When we understand that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed….” (Titus 2:14), we understand a greater truth. If we reject or ignore His salvation, we are really rejecting Him.
That means that if we neglect Christ’s salvation, we are rejecting a Person. “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9–10).
Salvation is much more than a set of beliefs that we accept or reject. Salvation is a Person that we accept or reject. Salvation IS God Himself; therefore, if somebody rejects God’s salvation, they are actually rejecting God. Just think how terrible it is to disrespect Christ’s offer of Himself to us.
How about you? What is your salvation? Is it just a set of beliefs, perhaps a tradition that you are comfortable with, or are you embracing Jesus Himself? Jesus “gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4).