The way, the truth and the life; faith, hope and love

We begin with the words of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). From there, we move on to the words of Paul: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

There are six words upon which we must focus our attention. There are three words from Jesus: way, truth and life; and there are three words from Paul: faith, hope and love.

It is important for us to emphasize that we begin with Jesus, not with Paul. Jesus is our Lord. He is our Saviour. Paul is no more than a believer in Jesus and a follower of Jesus. It is important that we do make too much of Paul, and not enough of Jesus.

Jesus is the way.

He’s the true and living way. It is important that we understand that Jesus describes himself as the way to life, and not merely a way of life. He says to us, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Before we can come to Jesus as a teacher of a new way of living, we must hear what he says to us, here, in John 14:6. He is the way to the Father. We do come to Jesus, and we ask him to teach us how we are to live, but we must never think that this is where we begin with Jesus. We begin with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. This is something that we must never forget when we ask him to teach us how we are to live.

Jesus is the truth.

To say that Jesus is the truth is to say more than “This seems to me to be true.” Jesus says to us that he is the truth, even if we don’t believe that he is the truth. It’s not our faith that makes Jesus “the truth.” Jesus is the truth. This is what creates our faith. This is what our faith is built upon. Our faith comes and goes. There are ups and downs in our life of faith. Sometimes, our faith is strong. Sometimes, it is weak. Always, Jesus is the truth. Our faith is very changeable. There is something that never changes: Jesus is the truth. Do we believe this? Do we believe that Jesus is the truth? This is where our faith begins. If our faith is less than this, Jesus is the truth, we need to hear, again, what Jesus says to us here, “I am the truth.”

Jesus is the life.

We search for the meaning of life. We ask, “What is the purpose of life?” How are we to answer questions about life’s meaning and purpose? Are to be set about our search for life with a determined attitude, “I will figure out what life is all about?” Before we get too self-confident, “I’ll work it all out for myself”, we need to listen to what Jesus says to us here: “I am the life.” When we insist on working out, for ourselves, what life is all about, we must prepare ourselves for living with the oft-repeated feeling that life is like a jigsaw that always has a missing piece. We read the words of Jesus, “I am the life”, and we wonder, “Is Jesus the missing piece I’ve been searching for for such a long time?” When Jesus says, “I am the life”, what is he really saying to us? Here, we need to be reminded that Jesus came to bring to us “everlasting life” (John 3:16).

From Jesus’ description of himself as “the way, the truth and the life”, the true and living way, we must now turn our attention to the three words, “faith, hope and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Faith

Here, we do not begin with our faith. This would be to place too much emphasis on our believing. While it is important, for us, to undestand what it means to believe, we must underline the importance of emphasizing that it is Jesus we believe in. What is our faith, if it is not faith in Jesus? It’s faith in ourselves. It’s positive thinking, but where does positive thinking take us, if it is nothing more than faith in ourselves?. If we were to ask Paul what he means when he speaks about faith, he would give us this answer: “I received faith by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12). What is the faith that Paul received “by revelation from Jesus Christ”? It’s “the gospel” (Galatians 1:11), the good news of God’s love, the good news that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. If we want our “faith” to grow, we must not concentrate our attention on ourselves, focusing on building our self-confidence. We must go back to the gospel. We must go back to God’s love. We must go back to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. This is where faith comes from. It comes “by revelation of Jesus Christ.” We will be led in the way of true and living faith when we’re learning to look away from ourselves and look to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Hope

“What hope do we have for the future?” We keep on looking for an answer to this very important question. We wonder if we will ever really have an answer to this question. Are our answers to this questions ever any more than mere human optimism? or Is there something more than this? Again, we come back to the words of Jesus concerning “everlasting life” (John 3;16). In Hebrews 6:19, the hope that we have, in Jesus, is described as our “sure and certain hope.” We may ask the question, “How will this hope change us here-and-now?” This is a question we must keep on asking ourselves. Our eternal hope is to make us more optimistic people. This is not to say that we must always be saying to ourselves, “I must try to be more positive, more optimistic.” What it means is this: we must continue to feed our faith on God’s Word. In Colossians 1:27, we have a description of Christ, which emphasizes that he is living in us here-and-now and he is preparing us for eternal glory. This is what Paul says: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” May God help us to keep on looking to Christ. He is Christ in us, and he is our hope of glory.

Love

Here, we return to 1 Corinthians 13:13, especially the words, “the greatest of these is love.” Is this simply referring to nothing more than that we should love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:39)? Certainly, the Lord is calling us to love our neighbour as ourselves, but we must ask, “How are to become more loving?” Are we to keep on reminding ourselves of Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbour as youself”? or Is there more than this? Should we not, also, remind ourselves of how much we have been loved by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: “the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This is the “greatest” love: “the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.” The “greatest” love is not our love for one another. It is the love of Jesus for each one of us. Let us pray that the love of Jesus will reach us and change us. May the love of Jesus flow into our hearts and flow out from our hearts to others.

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