The Two Ways
by G.J. Stewart
“Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know . . . I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:4, 6).
In these verses there are two distinct ways to the Father.
Jesus was going to the Father. He had a place there, and could say, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.”
There was no place for man there yet, because redemption’s work was not yet accomplished.
But Jesus had come from His Father’s house and knew it, and knew the abodes there prepared for those who love Him, but knew also that apart from redemption’s work, no man save Himself could ever enter the portals of the Father’s house.
Yet He had become a man, in order that as a man, He might work out redemption for man, and present Himself as a man and for men in all the value of an accomplished redemption before the One from whom He came.
He might have gone back alone. He would not go alone, so He must go through the CROSS.
The disciples ought to have known that He was going to the Father.
They ought to have known He was going by the cross!
They did not know this.
The way to the Father’s house for Him—Jesus, the Son of God—must be through the cross and the grave, if He would prepare a place there for those He loved.
How solemn the moment for His spirit! He, a man, must meet God about the question of sin, must settle that question, be nailed to the cross, and there endure death at the hand of God as the wages of sin, ere one desire of His heart for His own could be really satisfied. He had a baptism to be baptized with, and how was He straitened until it was accomplished!
What a way to the Father for Christ! What a cross!
Yet has omnipotent love travelled that way, and almighty power has opened through it a way for others, which to this day is kept open.
Jesus died! The question of sin was settled, God was satisfied.
But in living power He broke the bands of death, and rising superior to it, ascended into the Father’s house in all the value of the work He had finished upon the cross, and threw the doors of heaven open, to let in all that come unto the Father by Him.
And when Philip said, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me.”
How different a way is this”!
The way by which Jesus went to the Father was by the cross, death as the wages of sin under the judgment of God. No other being could ever travel that way and reach the Father’s house. All who now travel that way reach the abodes of unutterable ceaseless woe.
Jesus exhausted wrath for those for whom He died, put away sin, and entered the Father’s house, holding it as a prepared place for His disciples, and He Himself becomes the way by which they enter it.
There is no death this way, no judgment, they are past, and all who come by Jesus as the way, come to the Father. If no man cometh to the Father but by Him, all who do come by Him come to the Father.
How marvellous to think of such creatures as we are coming to the Father, the last, the best, and greatest name by which God has revealed Himself, and He has revealed Himself thus in the Son!
How different these two ways! And how different the beings who travel them! Jesus, the Son of God, who might have gone directly back to the Father without death, goes through the cross, the grave, and in resurrection power, and all the value of accomplished redemption, presents Himself in the Father’s house, having prepared thus a place there for others who never otherwise could have entered it.
On the other hand, men—sinners who deserve death and judgment, and that is, eternal banishment from the presence of God—come through Jesus as the way into the presence of the Father, with an assured title to the Father’s house.
Reader, do you thus come to Christ as the way, or are you treading in your own way, like other wandering sheep who have turned everyone to his own way? The end of your way is death. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Which is it with you?
Then if you have come by Christ as the way, do you know that you have come “to the Father”? How little do the saints of God give Him credit for the affection of a Father! How much practical unbelief there is as to this. May God arouse His people to a deeper sense of the blessedness of the relationship into which they are brought; and arouse you, dear unsaved reader, to a lively sense of the danger you are in all the while you neglect this way, which has been opened at the cost of Christ’s life-blood.
The Gospel Messenger 1901, p. 25