“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
IT SEEMS AT FIRST when Jesus says “I am the way” that he is speaking of his ideas, philosophy and leadership, and indeed to our minds all these expressions are appropriate. Yet what matters to him when Jesus looks within himself is not teaching, direction and leadership. Christ as the way is a profound mystery, and when he revealed it, it became one of the most wonderful statements of Christ, and no teaching on it is sufficient. The way Christ speaks of is one thing, while the way we desire, based like other ways on the logic of getting up and going somewhere, is something else. It surprises us that the way Christ speaks of leads man without requiring of him any difficulty. Christ means he himself is the way that leads to God the Father. Man is unable mentally, intellectually or philosophically to step on this path. It is the path that leads to truth and eternal life, and it cannot be attained by the mind nor can it be sufficiently described.
Christ opened this way to us by the death of his body on the cross, and if we join with him in this death by free choice we successfully move beyond the great barrier, death, which separates man from resurrection. When Christ died in his body he put sin to death, and when he rose in the glory of the Father, he subdued both death and sin. He was, and made us to be, a new creation living by the Spirit and power of the Father. The result is that by his bodily death and our participation in it, Christ carried us with him beyond the life we now live and the death it produced. Breaking of the body on the cross is the ultra-modern way the Lord established by his death, to bring man with him to the right hand of the Father in heaven, to eternal life with God. If man will only look at his past, present and future and ponder the great philosophers and teachers, the fathers and the devout, he will know beyond doubt that the new and living way he brought into existence by his death on the cross transports man once and for all from this world with its worries, delusions, sufferings, pain, lies and malicious enemies to the Kingdom of God, the house of the Father, the enduring companionship of the angels and saints dwelling in a festival of the Father’s pleasure over them.
This brings the conversation back to where it started, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” and thanks to our discovery we also continue in the Church to celebrate Christ’s body, for we continue to celebrate Christ’s body and blood on the cross at the Lord’s Supper. There we present a true sanctification of the body of the Lord and his blood. We eat it as true food, and we drink it as true drink, meaning it draws its existence and fulfillment with us from the bleeding body of the Lord on the cross. The crucified body of Christ and his blood shed are not just one of the many events of history, rather, it is a true revelation written in the records of heaven. It remains forever living, pulsating through all times and ages. It receives its existence, essence, righteousness and truth from the ever present risen body of Christ. Supporting this is Christ’s statement on the night of the supper of mystery, “For whenever you eat my body and drink my blood, you proclaim my true presence in you until I come.”
He remains living, by his pulsating presence on that night of the Supper, until the day of the final revelation.
WHEN SOMEONE HEARS THE EXPRESSION ‘the way,’ here he thinks it is a
smooth and easy path, but the truth hidden behind ‘I am the way’ is completely
The way is the crucified body on the cross to connect man to God. It was thought the
way to God is through Adam or his descendants, but the truth is that Adam was thrown
from the way that leads to God, so every son of Adam was alienated from God and the
way was cut off and disappeared, removed because of sin.
So it was until the Son of God came, sent by the Father to make a living and new
way for us by his body on the cross. The Bible compares his body to a curtain that
separated the holy of holies, the place where God dwells, from the holy place in which
people were allowed under certain conditions to enter.1 No one goes through the curtain
into the holy of holies except the high priest, who enters once a year carrying the blood
of the sacrifice of atonement on behalf of the people and himself.2 For this the cross
came, and upon it the body of Christ by which and through its mediation we may enter
the holy of holies in heaven.
When the body was broken and torn on the cross, it was a demonstration of the
tearing of the curtain which separated the people from the holy of holies, that is, from
God, and so Jews and Gentiles alike became the same before God.
On this basis Christ says ‘I am the way,’ and he in fact did become the only way
leading to God. True is his statement, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me,’
which was revealed on the cross in the crucifixion of the body. The mystery hidden
behind these words is the mystery of the Eucharist, the mystery of eating the body of
Christ. About this Christ said, ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal
life,’3 which means coming to the Father in His Kingdom. This is a fact as certain as the
certainty of heaven; partaking of the body of Christ gives life, eternal life.
So Christ opened up the way to the Father by offering his body on the cross,
accepting death for the life of the world and the sinner. The cross became reconciliation
of God with man, and more so with sinners.4 The greatest victory for humanity became
their ability to come to the Father through the blood of Christ and his flesh. It is the only
way, made by Christ by his body on the cross.
Christ’s statement, I am the ‘truth’ is the great truth of God in which no created being
can participate with him. Every created being only possesses truth as it comes from
God, and all truths in existence are formed within God. Outside of God there is nothing
true or right. Self-contained truth does not obtain its existence from another, and God is
self-contained truth; before time and also eternal, before all ages and beyond all time.
Christ’s statement, I am the ‘life’ is because there is no life outside of God, and
everything derives its life from God, and without God there is no life.
Christ said ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ so that he alone would be the one
who came to reveal to us the Father, because ‘No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son,’5 and no creation in heaven or earth can
possibly know the Father and Son except by the Holy Spirit.
July 23, 2005
3 John 6:54.
4 See Romans 5:10-11.
5 Matthew 11:27.
1 See Hebrews 10:19-20.
2 See Hebrews 9:7.
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