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Encountering Jesus

One of my exciting projects this summer has been a new book for graduate students entitled Encountering Jesus. Of course, when you write a book with that title and read dozens of passages in the Bible to explore the life and works of Jesus, you can’t help but to encounter Jesus yourself!

One passage that I’ve probably read more than a hundred times and yet still impacted me this summer was John 14:1-4. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you’ve studied the gospel of John before, no doubt you’re familiar with that passage. Actually a lot of people have problems with that passage because:

  1. 1) We want a relationship with God that’s based on our terms rather than coming to God on His terms. Ultimately the Bible asks us the question: What do we make of Jesus? It doesn’t ask us what we think of evil or suffering or ask about our political views. The Bible says we need to start with a personal relationship with God first. Until we know God personally, nothing else will make sense.
  2. 2) People have a hard time accepting the absolute and exclusive claims of Jesus.

As I explored this passage once again, I realized I don’t always let Jesus be the way, the truth, and the life for me. What did Jesus mean when he said he is the way, truth and life? As I dug into the passage in order to encounter Jesus, this is what I discovered he meant:

I am the life (the reason you live) – God is telling us that the reason he created us is to know him personally, not ultimately to work or raise a family. While those are great things God wants us to enjoy, he primarily created us to know Him.

I am the truth – My truth has to have precedence over your opinions, what the media says, and what the culture around you says.

And finally, I am the way. God is personal, just like us. In order for others to have a relationship with us, there’s a certain way that can lead to that relationship. For me, someone who wants to have a relationship with me must be honest. They need to be trustworthy. They need to be kind and caring, and it helps if they’re funny and can connect with my family. On the flip side, if someone’s dishonest and not dependable, I can’t have a great relationship with them. God is communicating in this passage that in order to know Him, you must believe in Jesus and put your trust in Him. Jesus is the way we can know God personally.

What stands out to you in this passage? Do you tend to want to come to God on your terms, or are you okay with approaching God on His terms? Are you ready to experience more of Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life? Is there anything you need to do to respond to this passage?

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photo credit: serbosca Zen Sunrise via photopin (license)


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About Chad Young

Chad Young works in full-time college ministry, serving as Cru Global’s national director over the southeast region, leading the ministries in FL, GA, AL, and MS. He has served on the staff of Cru for fifteen years. He is the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World (InterVarsity Press), a discipleship-training manual, and magazine articles for Worldwide Challenge and The Collegiate. He frequently speaks at retreats and conferences and regularly writes devotionals for his website, findingauthenticchristianity.com. Chad, with his wife Elizabeth, travels the country to speak at churches and train church leaders how to make Biblical disciples. Chad currently resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. His hobbies include cheering on his kids in sports, following college football, and laughing with family around the backyard fire pit.
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