Rory preaches on Jesus statement "I am the way and the truth and the life" in John 13:31 - 14:14. In this passage Jesus comforts his disciples by showing them a vision of a future with him and the Father in eternity.
Most people with some church or bible background will be familiar with these words of Jesus.
Whilst this is a good thing, we do need to be careful that the meaning of these words doesn’t become dulled by familiarity.
So let’s pray for a renewed understanding of the importance of these words, as we see the context in which they were spoken.
For many people these are exceptionally troubling times, with fears of unemployment, economic breakdown, illness and death looming over us. But the truth is, virus or no virus, we will all feel troubled at some time in our lives for many different reasons. There will be times when we experience a huge weight of anxiety. Christians can feel like this too. Our sin may feel so great that we can’t live as we should. We may feel even a sense of abandonment. We ask ourselves ‘Is Jesus really here and is he really for me?’
The world has a host of answers which focus on human ability to make change. With regard to the virus, the nation’s hope at the moment hinges on the NHS. In respect to the dangers of climate change, some people are considering that the only answer is to reduce childbirth. The ‘I Am’ leaflet mentioned in this morning’s sermon is all about finding the answer from within ourselves. Such answers are inadequate. Looking into myself for the answer doesn’t make any sense.
These verses of Jesus provide the only real answer to a troubled heart.
Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1
If you look back at Chapter 13 Jesus was revealing disturbing facts to his disciples. His washing of the disciples’ feet would have puzzled them, as would his announcement that one of their number would betray him. Then He said that He would be going away and they would not be able to come with Him. And, when He told Peter that he would disown his lord Jesus three times, this must have made them feel especially downcast.
It is no wonder that in this passage we witness eleven disciples in a gloomy despairing mood. And into this atmosphere Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
But the amazing thing about His words is that Jesus is the one who is really troubled here.
In chapter 12:27 we read: “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”
As the hour approaches when He has to go to the cross, He is very troubled. It is an anxiety of turbulent stormy proportions. It is a huge weight of anxiety and distress. These moments remind us of the events in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he pleaded with His Father to “let this cup be taken from me.” and where He sweat droplets of blood.
Yet, despite being the very troubled one, he tells his disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
He is the one still faithfully loving and comforting them
He is preparing them for everything that is to come. He is preparing them in the knowledge that they will desert him and that He will die on a cross. He is preparing them in the knowledge that they will go out and live for him, experiencing a life of trouble on this earth.
It is remarkable that the troubled one comforts his disciples.
What is the basis for Jesus’ words of comfort?
In John 14:2-3 we read:
2. ”My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4
Jesus said the reason they don’t need to be troubled is that He is going to prepare a place for them. He is going to His Father’s house, which has lots of room and the best thing is that they are going to be there with Him and with God the Father. He has taken their eyes from the immediate cause of their trouble and directed their attention to the eternal things.
Every troubled heart wants to know that things will be alright, that everything that we are having to deal with will be worth it. We need to hear of something that is bigger than ourearthly trouble.
How can we get to this place?
Verse 4 states “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Do the disciples know how to get there? Here, in this cryptic statement, Jesus is encouraging some questioning from the disciples. Thomas is the one who in verse 5 says
“Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answers with this great statement in verse 6
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is the way.
This is the main message.
It’s all about Jesus Jesus being the way.
The verses leading up to this all point to where He is going.
13:33 “Where I am going, you cannot come. “
13:36 “ Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
14:2 “ I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
14:4 “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
These verses are all about going somewhere.
Then we have 3 uses of the word ‘way’
14:4 “You know the way”
14:5 “How can we know the way?”
14:6 “I am the way”
Jesus is showing troubled hearts the way to the Father, the way to eternal life to be with him. He is showing who is the way.
If you want an eternity with the Father then you must come by Jesus.
Jesus is the truth
He is the way because He is the truth. No one can know God until they know Christ. Ancient religions and beliefs will never fathom the answer to who God is, because they don’t realise that it is only through Christ that you can know the Father. Only Christ is full of grace and truth, and only in Him can we see the truth of God the Father.
Only when we see the face of Jesus do we know the truth of who God the Father is and who we are. Jesus’ relationship to God is a true Father-Son relationship.
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” V9
When we look at Christ we can see many things about the Father. We see the mercy of God who, by putting Christ on the cross and punishing Him, shows His mercy to us. For the same reason, in Christ, we see a God of justice. We also see a God of love, who gives us His Son so that we may be with Him in His family. We can only know the truth about God, the Father, if we know Christ, the Son.
You do not need to be troubled, because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He makes sense of it all. He shows us a God who loves and cares and who has mercy on us. We see the one that we can trust.
Jesus is the life
We also see that He is the way because He is the life. He brings us to the God of life. The only way we can have life is by Christ dying for us.
See John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
How do we know that we can get eternal life? The son of man must be lifted up, just like the snake in the wilderness in Numbers 21:9
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, the son of man must be lifted up.”
You can have that life now because He has won it for us. We can live, in this world, the life He has won for us, knowing that we will one day go to a home where we will have eternal life with Him.
What good news it is, that Christ himself is going to return. He is going to take us to be with Him forever.
So don’t be troubled. Jesus is the way because He is the life. Through His death and His resurrection, He gives life to all who believe. I can look at this troubled world and say, ‘Don’t worry,’ because I have a life in the Father who cares for me.
Because Jesus is the way, follow Him.
Because Jesus is the way, trust Him.
Because Jesus is the way, experience Him.
Trust Him because He is the only way.
Verse 6 tells us: “No one comes to the father except through me.”
It is not like climbing a mountain where there are a number of possible paths. It is more like finding your route through a maze which has only one way to its centre. There is only one solution and that is Jesus. That is his exclusive claim. We cannot get to Heaven by any effort in ourselves. We need Jesus
Acts 4:12 reads: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Jesus is the only sufficient means of coming to God because in very nature Jesus is God himself. Your troubled heart will not know peace unless you trust in Jesus.
It reminds me of the end of Pilgrim’s Progress when Christian is joined by Ignorance. When Ignorance comes to the gate he wants to go through it. But, because he doesn’t know Jesus he is taken away.
It is only through Jesus that you can get into the Father’s house and be in his family.
Yes it’s an exclusive claim but it is inclusive to all who believe in Him. If you believe in what He has done for you to give you eternal truth, then you will know His eternal blessings.
So, is your heart troubled? At some time in your life you will have a troubled heart. There will be some situation which will give you anxiety.
Just listen to the words of Jesus
Jesus has changed the perspective from ourselves to him.
There is a song by Kings Kaleidoscope, called “A prayer” which describes a man in turmoil. He calls himself a wicked sinner whose fear is ‘vicious violent’, and he calls out to Jesus.
The refrain says:
JESUS, where are you?
Am I still beside you?
JESUS, where are you?
Am I still beside you?
Then the voice of Jesus takes the man’s focus away from himself and says:
I'm right beside you! I feel what you feel!
And I'm here to hold you when death is too real!
You know, I died, too! I was terrified!
I gave myself for you! I was crucified
Because I love you! I love you, child!
Jesus takes away our concern about our circumstances and puts the focus on Him, and what He has done. So we can sing “Let not your heart be troubled.”
Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He has won the family home for you.
“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us” Romans 8:18
So when you’re troubled, look to Jesus. Look to Him as the way, the truth and the life, and if you see troubled brothers and sisters point them to Christ. If you know people who don’t know Christ show them the way
Maybe you are someone who has no knowledge of Jesus Christ and your circumstances at the moment are making you anxious, with no visible hope of comfort. Well here is the way. Jesus is the only way.
What a way!
Will you come to trust in Jesus? Will you come to know the way, the truth and the life?
John 13:31 - 14:14
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.
14:1 “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. 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. 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.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.