In 2013, I released a book that shed some new light on a well-known verse in this text. The book was an application of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s technique of meditating upon the scriptures. He called his technique the Spiritual Exercises. When I practiced the method myself, I came to know God in a new way. This is what motivated me to write O Taste and See: Discovering God Through Imaginative Meditations (Malcolm Creek Publishing, 2013). Here is an excerpt from the introduction to my book that speaks to John 14:6-7:
* * *
Jesus helped me to understand the foundational character of God. Jesus reveals the Creator-Father. The DNA of God is love. Everything I understand about God today arises from that core trait. And Jesus is the revelation of the truth about God. Let me show you several passages from the New Testament that helped me grow confident in this claim.
No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son. . .who has made Him known (John 1:18).
[Speaking to the Pharisees] “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19).
Then Jesus cried aloud, “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.” (John 12:44–45).
[Jesus said] “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9b).
[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God. . .For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (Colossians 1:15, 19).
For in [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).
* * *
There’s a crucial verse in the New Testament that continues this line of thinking. John 14:6 states, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Yet there is another possible translation for this verse. The Greek verb erchomai is most often translated as “to come” but it can also be translated “to become known.”[i]
John 14:6 might also be translated this way: “No one comes to know (comprehend, understand) the Father except through me.” The strength of this interpretation is supported in the ensuing verse that confirms and completes the same line of thought:
[Jesus said] “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to [know] the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6–7).
These verses point to a God of unlimited goodness and love. They point to a God who wants to be known, who conveyed what physical and spiritual completion looks like in a concrete, perfected form (Jesus) so that all could know the truth. (end of quote)
* * *
This slight change in translation caused me to reconsider the conditioning I received throughout my Christian training about “no one can come to the Father except through/by me.” That’s an exclusive and excluding position that divides Christians from others who are trying to know and please God.
As I learned in preparing my sermon for May 11 on John 10:1-10, Jesus is the door, the way, the example that we must follow in order to enter into a state where we have security and peace of mind, day in and day out in this life. It’s his example we must follow if we seek harmony and unity in life.
That’s also addressed in my newest ebook, In Living Color: Heaven, released this month. You can know God (which in Aramaic means Oneness, Unity) in this life…for the kingdom of God is “at hand.” During this week only (May 12-17), it’s on sale at the introductory price of 99¢ at this link. Don’t miss out on saving $3.00!
For me, Jesus shows the world what God is like – committed in love to the wellbeing of all creation.
[i] A variation of its meaning is found in other places in the Gospel of John. In John 5:40; 6:35, 37, 44, 45, 65 the verb is credited by Thayer’s Lexicon as meaning “to commit one’s self to the instruction of Jesus and enter into fellowship with him.” In John 3:20, it is credited as “to submit one’s self to the power of the light.” Used as a metaphor, the Greek word can mean “to show oneself,” “to come into being,” or “to find influence.”