4/30/12

John 14:1-11 – The Where, The Way and The Force


From the disciples’ perspective, things appear to be unraveling.
·  They just learned:
o   After 3 years of commitment to Jesus
o   After giving up their livelihood for Jesus
o   After seeing their Messiah ride into Jerusalem on a colt instead of a war horse
·  That:
o   Judas is going to betray Jesus.
o   Peter is going to deny Jesus.

They clearly are in need of some timely Words from Jesus.
·  In our text today, the beginning of the Farewell Discourse, Jesus gives them what they need.


1) THE COMFORT IN JESUS’ WORDS

John 14:1–3 (ESV) — 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled:
Last week we saw that Jesus was speaking of the coming glorification that would take place when He was:
·  “Lifted Up” to the cross
·  “Exalted” to the right hand of God

He then told the disciples, “Where I am going you cannot come” (vs. 33).
·  And He repeated these troubling words in John 13:36, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now”.
·  However, He did finally add, “but you will follow afterward” (vs. 36).
·  Lump this together with what we saw in our introduction and it has got to be panic time for the disciples.

So, for their benefit, Jesus expands on His destination talk.
·  He gives them some much needed insight into where He is going.
·  And by extension, He gives them some much needed insight into where they are going.

He begins by telling them to, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (vs. 1).
·  In our context, Jesus is telling them don’t have “inward turmoil”; don’t be “unsettled”; don’t be “thrown into confusion” about where He is going – BDAG.
·  And there is also a sense that He is asking them not to doubt (Luke 24:38).

What is interesting here is that Jesus tells them not to be what He was in John 11, 12 and 13.
·  John 11:33 (ESV) — 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.
·  John 12:27 (ESV) — 27Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
·  John 13:21 (ESV) — 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

We can immediately learn from this that there can be good reasons to be “troubled”.
·  Jesus showed us that at least three times.

However, even though there are circumstances that, at first blush, seem to clearly warrant this response.
·  Jesus is teaching that sometimes there are no valid reasons to react this way.
·  And in these cases, the reason it is not valid because it ignores a spiritual reality of God.

So what is the reason they should not be “troubled?
·  Jesus is going the Father’s house – exalted to God’s throne.
·  But there is more in the Father’s house (heaven) than just God’s throne.
·  There are also “many rooms”.
·  And in heaven with its “many rooms”, “I go to prepare a place for you”.
·  And the way you will come with me into this place is because I am coming back for you.
·  So, “that where I am you may be also”.

BTW – this dialogue raises many questions about the relationship between heaven; the second coming; what happens to us after we die, but before the second coming; etc.
·  I might get back to these at some point down the road.

Interestingly, Jesus encourages the disciples with this same technique after His resurrection – “don’t be troubled” with “here is why”.
·  Luke 24:37–40 (ESV) — 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

However, at first take, it doesn’t appear that Jesus’ efforts to comfort and encourage with truth are successful.
·  As usual, the disciples, as seen in Thomas, have a comprehension problem.
·  Jesus is using categories they simply are not familiar with.
·  So at Thomas’ initiative, Jesus gives more comfort and encouragement.
o   BTW - In time, they will and do get all that Jesus taught or we wouldn’t have the NT.


2) THE “WHERE” AND “WAY” IN JESUS’ WORDS

John 14:4–6 (ESV) —  4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

By this time in Jesus’ ministry, the disciples should know what Jesus is talking about – “and you know the way”.
·  However, Thomas makes a profound admission.
·  we do not know where” – The Where
·  How can we know the way?” – The Way

The Where:
What is the where?
·  Jesus had already taught on this “where” numerous times.
·  John 8:14–18 (ESV) — 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”
·  John 8:42 (ESV) — 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
·  The “where” has always been the Father.

Why does Jesus specify “the Father” in verse 6?
·  We often mistakenly soften Jesus’ statement by suggesting He said, “No one comes to heaven except through me”.
o   This waters down Jesus’ words.
·  Jesus is clear that access to “the Father” is the primary issue here and not access to part of creation – heaven.

When Jesus speaks of “the Father” He is purposely referring to a very specific God.
·  The God of the Old Testament.
·  The God who chose the Jews.
·  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
·  The God of the Exodus.
·  The God who covenanted with the Israelites.
·  The God who is Ruler and Creator of the universe.
·  The God among whom there is no equal.
·  The only true and living God.

And then Jesus dropped the ultimate J-Bomb concerning the “way” to the “where”.
·   “I am the way”

The Way:
What does Jesus mean when He says “I am the way”?
·  Thomas was talking as if Jesus was referring to a physical trip over a certain route.
·  And all he needed was a map to guide him through the mountain passes or waterways.
·  Thomas was close; there were things that needed to be “traveled” through.
·  But only Jesus could do so.

Jesus, to be the Way, He had to navigate through some very specific “landmines” on our behalf.
·  Our depravity.
·  Our sin.
·  Our death.
·  God’s judgment.
·  God’s wrath.

How does this make Jesus the way?
·  All of these “landmines” are mitigated by His work on the cross; His being “lifted up”.
·  We call this Jesus’ atoning work of the cross.
·  The Penal-Substitution Atonement is the reason Jesus is the Way to the Father.
o   Sacrifice (Hebrews 9:26)
o   Propitiation (1 John 4:10)
o   Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
o   Redemption (Mark 10:45)
o   Substitution (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Profoundly, for the Jew, this means the Law and sacrificial system is not the way (it never was)!
·  A new covenant is now in force.
·  Jesus is the way because the new covenant is completed with His work on the cross.
·  This is why the bold and Spirit-powered Peter would say:
·  Acts 4:12 (ESV) — 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus became the object of God’s wrath on the cross where He bore the judgment for our depravity and sin and conquered death on our behalf.
·  No one or thing can be the way unless all of these “landmines” are accounted for.

So the way is not:
·  Knowledge (without belief)
·  Good Works
·  Self-Actualization
·  Buddha
·  Self

And the reason none of these can be a way is because they do nothing to contend with depravity, sin, death, judgment, and a Holy God’s wrath.

And finally, Jesus is the way because of His location at the exalted right hand of God the Father.
·  Romans 8:34 (ESV) — 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
·  Only Jesus in His identity as the second person of the Trinity has the position and power to advocate for us.
·  And he can do so because of His journey through the cross.

BTW – There is a widespread sentiment, even among evangelicals, to suggest that others can “get to heaven” by other means or intermediaries (universalism).
·  This is patently false and contradicts Scripture.
·  Jesus was clear – He is the “Way” and the Father is the “Where”.
·  So even if other “methods” think they have contended with depravity, sin and death
o   Which they haven’t
·  They still have to contend with the “Where” and His judgment and wrath.
o   The God of Israel.
·  There are certainly good questions to wrestle with over this issue, but to reject the truth taught by Jesus is never a legitimate solution.


3) THE FORCE BEHIND JESUS’ WORDS

John 14:7–11 (ESV) — 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

In dropping His ultimate J-Bomb, Jesus has made a radical claim.
·  Why are Jesus’ words not just a clever, hollow collection of platitudes?
·  Why are they trustworthy and meaningful?
·  Why do they have force?

In our text today, Jesus proceeds to give the disciples the foundational reason for the truth of His words.
·  He refers us to His relationship with the Father.

The Foundation of Jesus’ Claims:
First, He connects a call to believe in God with one to believe in Him.
·  Believe in God; believe also in me.” (vs. 1)
·  Jesus is addressing the disciples’ lack of complete trust in Him.
o   A source of their troubled hearts (vs. 1)
·  He does this by calling them to trust in God the Father and in Him.
·  He is implying that to trust in God is to trust in Him.
·  “If Jesus invariably speaks the words of God and performs the acts of God (5:19ff.), should he not be trusted like God?” – D.A. Carson.

Second, on the heels of this controversial statement, Jesus then makes the following claims:
·  Known Me – Known Father (vs. 7)
·  Seen Me – Seen Father (vs. 9)
·  In the Father – Father in Me (vs. 10 and vs. 11)

This connection between Jesus and the Father has been a primary theme in John’s Gospel.
·  It is the very thing Jesus stakes His entire ministry on.
·  So much so that we have often referred to Jesus as “The Father’s Jesus”.

In John 5, Jesus went into great detail about His connection to the Father and the evidence for it.
·  He specifically discusses the nature of the Father/Son relationship.
·  And the testimony for the truth of this Father/Son relationship.
·  We will review this very briefly.

Father/Son Relationship:
·  John 5:19 (ESV) — 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
·  John 5:20 (ESV) — 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
·  John 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
·  John 5:22-23 (ESV) — 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
·  John 5:26 (ESV) — 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

Testimony about Father/Son Relationship:
(1) John the Baptist
·  John 5:31–35 (ESV) — 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he [God the Father] bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

(2) The Father
·  John 5:32 & 36–38 (ESV) — 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.

(3) Scripture
·  John 5:45–47 (ESV) — 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

(4) Works
·  And Jesus even points to His miracle working as a testimony of this connection.
·  Believe on account of the works themselves” (vs. 11)
·  John 10:37–38 (ESV) — 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

So the reason Jesus’ words to the disciples have force and thus can serve to comfort and give truth is because of Jesus’ real connection within the Triune relationship to God the Father.
·  So when Jesus tells them to “let not your hearts be troubled” or “I am the way” these words carry weight because:
o   I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (vs. 11).
o   And is entire ministry has testified to this truth.

Lessons for Us:
With His Words, Jesus made radical and controversial claims.
·  He gave reasons to not be troubled.
·  He made claims about the “Way” and the “Where”.
o   As well as the “Life” and the “Truth”.

Yet, He did not ask the disciples to believe for no good reason.
·  He grounded the force and truth of His words in His relationship with the Father.
·  He gave evidence of how this relationship He shared with the Father had been testified to.

For our purposes, we need to examine the disciples’ response to the testimony of Jesus’ Words.
·  Did they die to save face for something they knew to be bogus?
·  Or did they die because they came face to face with the Truth in a risen Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
·  Did they exalt Jesus to the Father’s right hand or did the Father?
·  Did they boldly proclaim a risen, exalted Jesus because the psychological trauma of His death?
·  Or did they boldly proclaim because they encountered a risen Jesus and a Holy Spirit that crystallized all that Jesus had taught them?
· Do Jesus' Words have force in our lives?