YouTube: I Am The Way (part 1)
“For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.”John 18:37
This passage represents one of the clearest statements Jesus made concerning his perceived purpose. He came to bear witness to the truth. This is something a mystic would say. The operative word of course is truth. Pilate asked, what is truth, and Jesus didn’t answer, perhaps because he sensed a great chasm of spiritual understanding between himself and a career politician such as Pilate.
We may not be able to know with certainty how Jesus understood truth, but we can know how the mystic understands it. Evelyn Underhill, who produced one of the most definitive works about mysticism, defined it as “… the art of establishing a conscious relation with the Absolute.” To the mystic, truth would reference the changeless and eternal nature of God (the Father) centered in every individual.
Those who have awakened to this profound reality often consider it their single purpose to share with others this truth that has the potential to free people from the burdens of mundane life. It is clear that Jesus considered passing this message to others the cornerstone of his life’s purpose. “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
When the mystic says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” he or she is not referring to their personal self but to their body of teachings. Unlike many mystics who were prolific writers, Jesus did not leave his teachings in a body of literature. These essentially died with him on the cross. He was literally the single resource, the way that he taught.
Apparently this label, the Way, stuck (Acts 9:1-2). It did not take long after his death for the Way to be transformed from teachings of Jesus to teachings about Jesus. In part 2, we’ll explore this transformation.