When Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY…I AM THE TRUTH…I AM THE LIFE–” He was not speaking metaphorically–he was pronouncing a profound, incredible fact. Perhaps one way to understand what Jesus meant is to begin by imagining a great sculptor at work. Within the sculptor’s eye is a beautiful figure he wishes to reproduce. First he carefully selects the perfect stone that potentially contains the perfect figure. Then he begins.
Each stroke of the chisel and hammer shears away solid stone. Each masterful blow is telling, each surely delivered stroke is true. The master makes no mistakes, and takes no shortcuts. After a while the beautiful figure that existed only in the sculptor’s mind, now stands perfectly reproduced in the master’s studio.
Likewise, Jesus was a master of confident living–of right moral relationship and conduct. His acts of kindness and generosity, His demonstrations of how humans should act in the face of confusion and conflict, were his masterpiece. The Bible says, “He was not like the other teachers of the Law; he taught with authority.” (Matthew 7:29).
We are apprentices of this Great Teacher, but what He exhorted us to do, we do only imperfectly. But once we have finished committing our mistakes, we do not continue to suffer from them. We are forgiven, and begin to perform beautifully. Jesus said, “No pupil is greater than his teacher; but every pupil, when he has completed his training, will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40).
The rules and laws of any art exist outside of us (like a set of books) until we practice the art. Then slowly, after much work, much practice, many trials and failures, the art becomes part of us. We become incapable of breaking the rules and laws of the art because we know through our own painful experience that only by following the rules will we produce beauty. Breaking them produces rubble. Thereby, they become rules of the heart.
That is why Jesus pronounced: I AM THE TRUTH. The difference being that Jesus was not attempting to learn the Law. He was the Law. (Why He was perfect, why He made no mistakes.) And the equally profound pronouncement: I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE further proclaiming that the Law came fro God the Father–and Jesus was at the same time proclaiming and performing the Law. And even more astonishingly: GO AND DO LIKEWISE. And thus become sons of the Father.
It is these heart laws we have come here to learn. How can people ask, What is the purpose of life? Jesus repeated over and over that becoming rich or powerful or famous was not the meaning of life, that such attainments were meaningless in Heaven.
What are the signs we are learning our apprentice lessons of heart laws? Perhaps it is conscience–the small voice inside that whispers, that won’t leave us alone–when we know we have done wrong–when we have broken a heart law. Then we know the Law has entered our heart. That conscience relentlessly upbraids us until we seek peace and compensation with the ones we have wronged. By a strong conscience you will know that the Law is no longer merely words in a book of laws–but the Law has entered your heart. Phil