The Jesus of Bethlehem: Via, Veritas, Vita

Lessons From The Upper Room: The Heart Of The Savior

On Sundays I have been making my way through Sinclair Ferguson’s new book, Lessons from the Upper Room: The Heart of the Savior (Ligonier Ministries, 2021). The book is based on the author’s teaching series on John 13-17 for Ligonier and, though it might be considered fitting reading for the season of Lent, it is also fitting for Advent I am learning.

Last week I read the fifth chapter, “Via, Veritas, Vita,” which, if you know your Latin means “Way, Truth, Life.” And if you know your Bibles, you know that Ferguson is expounding that important verse in John 14:6 (chapter 5 actually covers John 14:1-14), where the Lord responded to Thomas’ question with the words, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Below you will find some of Ferguson’s comments on this passage. After reading, I believe you will agree that this worth pondering this week of Christmas.

“Jesus now makes explicit what had been implicit: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

“The motto of my home city’s late-medieval university was taken from the Latin Vulgate Bible’s translation of John 14:6: Via, Veritas, Vita. Students in today’s post-biblically literate society must wonder what it means. Is this the noble goal of a higher education – to find your “way” in “life” by seeking “truth” (if there is such) within these hallowed precincts? Perhaps ignorance of the words’ origin protects them from being removed because, as a quotation from the Bible, they favor Christianity. Had the motto quoted the whole verse (which the founders would have assumed every student would instinctively complete), it surely would have been long since removed. For the person quoted was saying that He, exclusively, is the way, the truth, and the life, and therefore the only way to God: “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“You can almost hear the sneer of certain TV interviewers when read these words. Skilled in the art of demeaning, they you ask, “Are you really so arrogant that you believe that anyone who disagrees with you cannot go to heaven?” The implication being, “Shame, shame on you, you narrow-minded bigot!”

“We should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). The question can be answered with integrity in more than one way.

“The first-as should be obvious – is that we are not the person making the claim. The words are those of Jesus, recorded by “the Apostle of love”!

“The second-equally obvious – is, What if this person is the Son of God who alone knows the Father (Matt. 11:27)? Has He no right to say that He alone can bring us to His Father?

“The third – perhaps less obvious, but no less powerful – is this: If, in order to bring us into His presence, God the Father had to send His only Son to die on the cross-what possesses anyone to think they can devise another way? What miasma clouds my mind so that I cannot see that if God found no other way, then I certainly cannot? Has it never crossed my mind that a father will choose any way he can to protect his son from the kind of suffering associated with crucifixion-never mind an experience of God-forsakenness?

“The arrogance lies elsewhere.

“The issue is not, ‘Who do you think you think you are, Christian?’

It is, ‘Who do you think you are to believe you can accomplish on your own what God says could be accomplished only by the death of His Son on the cross?’

Published in: on December 19, 2021 at 9:06 PM  Leave a Comment