1/3/09 : John 14:1-7
John 14:1 Jesus said "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 You know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Where are we meant to go?
In today's reading Jesus deals with the answer to these questions. He does so as he tries to comfort his followers. He had just told them that he was going to be betrayed by one of them 13:21, and that he was going to leave them 13:33.
They were confused and "troubled", verse 1. The Lentwise book the home groups are studying translates this "turmoil". The Greek literally means to stir or agitate.
I imagine that many people feel troubled today. Perhaps by the economic situation, by things that are happening in our own lives, or the lives of family and friends.
Jesus provides the antidote. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."
Why should we trust in God? Because He has proved to be trustworthy. God is greater and more powerful than the temporary things of this life. He loves us and wants to care and provide for us as our perfect heavenly father. But we have to let him.
In today's gospel Jesus says, in effect, that the meaning of life is to "come to the Father" verse 6. To live with God forever in his vast, heavenly home, verse 2. The many rooms refer to the vastness of heaven, not its division. Our goal, the meaning to our lives, should be God. We should already be making our way towards our dwelling with him.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in the 1640's, expresses this with the answer to the first question: What is the chief end of Man?, that is, What is Man's main purpose? The answer is: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.
How do we get to have this right relationship with God the Father? Through God, the Son, Jesus, who said "Trust in God; trust also in me."
Why should we trust in Jesus?
1) We should trust in Jesus because He is God. Immediately after the conversation with Thomas in today's passage, Jesus talks with Philip. Philip says. Verse 8, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus replies, verse 9, that "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." He was claiming equality with God the Father.
Jesus said "I am" when describing himself. "I am the way...". This is how God describes himself to Moses Exodus 3:14. In using the term " I am" Jesus identifies himself as God.
Jesus is God. I had a conversation with someone last year who said that he was a Christian but that he didn't believe Jesus was God. This is one of the central truths of the Christian faith! Jesus claimed to be God. If this was untrue He would be a liar and He couldn't have died for our sins.
2) We should trust in Jesus because he is the truth. If we want to know what is true we can look to him. When we look at the teaching, life, death and resurrection of Jesus these have the hallmark of God. Jesus was sinless. In 8:46 he challenged his opponents to convict him of any sin. Peter, who had been with him for three years wrote, 1 Peter 2:22, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." unpack
3) We should trust in Jesus because he is the only way to God. Jesus' claims are exclusive, "No one comes to the Father except through me." The word translated way means road or route. He is the only route to God.
No other person has died, risen to new life, and is still alive. No-one else can offer forgiveness of sins and peace with God. There is only one other way to have a right relationship with God. That is to be perfect. To love God with our whole being all of the time, and to love others as ourselves.
4) We should trust in Jesus because he alone can give life. We saw two weeks ago, from Colossians 3:16, that he created everything. He is the source of all physical life. He is also the source of all spiritual life.
His way led to rejection, crucifixion and death, and resurrection life. His followers have to follow a way of rejection because of the stand they take for Jesus, death to a way of life that puts ourselves at the centre, and resurrection to a new life. A life lived in relationship with God the Father, through the life, death and resurrection of the Son, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
If you accept your purpose in life is to be with God in eternity, how will this affect the way that you live your life now? We read in Acts 24:14 that the early church was known as followers of the Way.
Follow the way of Jesus, his example and teaching.
Rely upon his truth by Bible study and prayer through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Follow his way of death and resurrection to life.
Learn verse, "Trust in God; trust also in me."
To trust in God and Jesus is scary. But what is the alternative?
The Road of Life
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him.
But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.
When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable it was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. I gained love, peace, acceptance and joy; gifts to take on my journey, My Lord's and mine. And we were off again.
He said, "Give the gifts away. They're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten, scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do it anymore, He just smiles and says... "Pedal."