Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Way, The Truth, and The Life. What is it?

6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Imagine, one day you hear someone nearby saying: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

You pause, perhaps grin and think, ‘This guy is really nuts, or he has an incredibly healthy self esteem’.

What were Jesus’ Disciples thinking when Jesus said to them, “I am the way and the truth and the life…”? Do you think they were surprised? Do you imagine they began to think He was out of His mind? No. They knew exactly what He was saying.

From their childhood education, the disciples of Jesus understood that Jesus was telling them that they have been studying about him before they came to meet. You see, male Judeans began life learning and understanding the Holy Scripture. The core message of the Holy Scripture was of preparation and expectation of a Messiah. Aside from learning the scripture, which was their main goal, they also learned to live and function as a member of the Judean community. (There is a link for further reading, beneath the body of my text on this educational system. However, without confusing the issue with deep discussion on Judean Custom, I want to focus on explaining Jesus’ relationship with His disciples).

I imagine the three words Jesus says to his disciples have an immediate impact on them as to what Jesus is saying when He used the Aramaic words for “Way, Truth and Life”. I’m not going to pretend to know exactly what each one of these words meant to Jesus disciples. However, there is a strong indication, by virtue of Jesus having used these three nouns alone, telling the disciples that “Way”, “Truth” and “Life” are descriptive of a phase or phases of education in the Judean male’s life. For example, we know that Isaiah prophesied “The ‘Way’ called Holiness” in Isaiah 35:8. Or, “Way” could be a reference to the first five years of a Judean child’s life, where the “Way” was lived by the parents of a child and taught by virtue of constantly placing Judaism and scripture in front of the child.

In a second phase of the Judean male’s education, we learn that the next five years were devoted to “MEMORIZING” the Torah, (the first five books of our Old Testament). And this was called, “Beit-Safar” (House of the Book), from which we may be correct if we assign “Truth” as a descriptive word, as this phase of education begins the intelectual indoctrinating of the young Judeans in “Truth” or knowledge of Judaism. (Now, I want to be very clear. I have studied for not so brief an amount of time and was unable to come to any solid conclusions on exactly what the “Way”, “Truth” and “Life” represent to Jesus and His disciples. If you have suggestions, state them as suggestions. But, please be careful to not state something that you do not know to be 100% true and in accord with Judean custom. I’ve read several commentaries on this. And I feel that speculation is at the heart of all of their assertions).

In the third phase of the Judean male’s education, The Jewish teen would then learn the books of Joshua through Malachi. At the end of this phase, the rest of the young Judean’s life would be decided. He would, either go on to the rest of his life, working in the profession of his father. or pass the entire phase and go on to pursue a rabi whom would assess the young man’s learning and possibly choose him to be his student, "talmid" or ‘disciple’.

If a rabi were to accept the student, the rabi would say something like, “Take my yoke upon you”. Does this statement resonate with you?

In Matthew 11:30, Jesus says, “My ‘yoke’ is easy, and My burden is light”.
Jesus was called teacher, rabi. Those twelve students he chose were His. They are called ‘disciples’ in the Bible, (students). (Again, I will say to you, I have read many commentaries on this issue. Many, many of them are weak in their interpretation as they just do not line up with the actual Judean teaching of the “Yoke” the Rabi placed on his students. In using the word, "Yoke" implies being bound to. As the rabi lived and went, so did his students. We see with Jesus’ disciples, as the disciples traveled with, lived with and learned Jesus' teaching.

The “burden”, (I will confess that I am going to guess) I think is what Jesus is requiring of His disciples. What is Jesus asking the disciples to do? “Love one another”? Love all of humanity? That is my guess.

So, my conclusion is: In Jesus' use of the words "Way", "Truth" and "Life", Jesus was telling his disciples who He Is. And in so many ways, you can see the disciples Jesus chose, had occupations because they were not chosen to follow a rabi. They were not the ‘crème of the crop’, so to say. They didn’t measure up to the standard set by Judean custom. And I think this is a very important consideration for you and I to take personally. The fact is, we are accepted. Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. Pass the final phase, go on to make disciples of all nations, love God and people, and teach people to love God and to love one another.

Please continue in studying this idea of what The “Way, Truth and the Life” is. I have pasted a source for you to begin with below.

The Education of a Hebrew Child


thekingpin68 said...

This verse has always been a key one in my mind, and indicates that there is only one way in order to know God, and that way is found by following the Biblical Christ and therefore by implication the Father and Holy Spirit. There is truth to be found in other religions, no doubt, but the true God and salvation is found through Christ. Not a Christ of largely human fiction, but the Christ revealed to humanity by God and revealed in New Testament Scripture and foreshadowed in the Hebrew Bible.

Some would say this is a narrow way of saving persons, and it is, but God as God can do as he pleases, and reveal his plans to humanity as he pleases. I am simply reporting my Biblical and theological findings and God does his business his way.

jeleasure said...

Thaks Russ,
I am very happy to have written something to stir and invigorate you this morning.

preacherman said...

Wonderful thoughts on this subject. I have always thought it was Jesus Christ himself. I now believe believe that it is not only Jesus Christ but Jesus Christ, his words (John tells us the word became flesh) (my words are Life). So could it not be Jesus, and words and pattern for us? Great thoughts. I am still struggling with health and would appreciate it if you would keep me in you prayers brother. Great thoghts and discussion on this topic. Keep up the great work you do with your blog.

jeleasure said...

Very good to hear from you, sir.
Man, I have been praying for you. I have been praying and I know all of your readers have missed you. Some of them have posted their prayers and have promoted prayer for you from their blogs.
The body is a wicked thing. Is it not? I have pondered this thing over and over. Thanks to God our souls are not bound to it forever.
I know it sounds trite. You have surely heard it said very often. But be well. You are in many stranger's prayers. That is how the Human Family is supposed to be. Community.

satire and theology said...

Cheers, Jim. Keep on trying as am I.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Russ.

Vicki said...

Very insightful, Sweetiepie. Keep searching and studying. The Lord is blessing your efforts.

jeleasure said...


I went back to look at some of the comments that I felt I may learn something in, as it is quiet here.
I really like how you said this:

"Not a Christ of largely human fiction, but the Christ revealed to humanity by God and revealed in New Testament Scripture and foreshadowed in the Hebrew Bible.".

This type of thinking makes me feel priviledged to know you. We'll meet someday.

Tamela's Place said...

I love your music. Very good post. When Jesus said learn of me and take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light I have understood that to mean that when we yoke up with Jesus He is the one who carries and or pulls the load we just yoke up with him and He is our balance as well. When we lock up with Him He does the majority of the work for it is in Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) Also as we hook up with Him and learn of Him He will work in us His will and His good pleasure (Phil.2:13). He is the one doing all things through us (Loving through us would be one of the main things that He does through us, In fact it would be the greatest thing that He does through us). As we yoke up with Jesus we become one with Him thus we personify Him but He carries the load. For example, I think about my husband and our son, My husband owns his own business but our son works for him but my husband is the one who carries the weight of the business he has the greater responsibility. When we are abiding in Jesus we only bear the fruit but He produces the fruit. This is my understanding of course because of my own studies of the scriptures.

Jesus being the Way, the Truth and the Life I believe that to mean (who He is) and like you had said earlier in an e-mail to me He is the bridge. Only through Jesus can man be saved. He is the door-way to salvation. He is the doorway to the Father. He is the Truth that brings to us eternal life. Thus He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I love your blog i will be back! God Bless you Jim.

jeleasure said...

Hi Tamela,
I am greatful that you enjoyed my music selections. Another blogger asks, "where is the mute, or off button?". The music does not have to be there, ofcourse. I have it there for myself, when I am working. I just hit the pop out player button. And the player comes out onto a separate window that I can shrink. Then I continue working. In one way, it can be an annoyance to readers. However, I reason that the reader may turn their speakers off or volume down. It is also, a way to be introduced to new or older Christian music.
O.k., the interpretations you have are along the same lines as what I have thought. I will not claim to be correct. I am just attempting to get into Jesus' mind when He speaks metaphorically. We only use metaphores when we are aware that the person we are speaking with will identify with what we are saying. And, as you are aware, Jesus spoke in a lot of metaphoical statements and used parables.
Correct, to be yoked is to move in the same direction. This was exactly what the Jewish Rabi's did with their Talmids (students or disciples). Where the Rabi went, so did the student. We see this in Jesus with His disciples. They went where He went and learned from what they saw in Jesus.
And so, what we are doing through Christ is easy. It is love as you have said. That being a much lighter burden than the weight of the Law. Live life by the Spirit, As you have said.
Thank you for your excellent contribution to this study. And I can not wait to find some information on the Jewish Wedding. I really appreciate your having brought that to my attention.