Thursday, December 10, 2015
Jesus Is The Way
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)
Jesus had just told his disciples he was going to be betrayed and killed, and that there was nothing they could do to prevent it. He told them they should trust him just as they did God, that he knew what was happening and had it under control. His death would not be the end, He was just going to prepare things for them (and us) and would return for them. When he came back for them, they would be with him permanently. He told them that they already knew where he was going and how to get there.
“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7)
As usual, Thomas refused to take anything for granted, demanding all the details. They didn’t know where he was going and how could they know the way unless they did? While such an attitude can prevent making a lot of mistakes, it can also make one appear indecisive and prevent one from acting. Remember, this is why he was known as Didymus.
Jesus explained what he had explained to Nicodemus in John 3:16-21 again. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Jesus is the truth, the standard by whom all will be judged. He is also the source of life, and the only way of salvation is faith in him. It is the same message they had heard him preach for three years. If they had really understood him, they would have understood God’s plan as well. After what they were about to see, they would understand his plan and his love.
“Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.” (John 14:8-11)
Philip said that if they could understand God they would be satisfied. Jesus questioned how they could not understand that he and the Father are one, and that to truly know one is to know the other, almost like knowing identical twins. Jesus’ words were what the father had said and the things he had done were done by the Father ‘s power. It didn’t matter whether they believed him because of what he said, or because of what he said since both were by God.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
Jesus then told them that people who believed on him would do the things he had done and even greater works because he was going back to his father. As a result many have insisted on trying to perform miracles, not understanding that wasn’t the work he was referring to. Miracles were just a tool to draw people to Christ, the work is drawing people to Christ. The Jews had heard the gospel for two thousand years, and many of them were ripe to accept Christ because the seed had been planted and watered for so long. The greater work is to reach people who have not had that constant teaching.
Another fallacy that has arisen from this statement is that if we pray “in Jesus’ name”, God is obligated to give us what we ask for. I John 5:14-15 clarifies this somewhat. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” The prayer needs to be according to his will. For several years I worked for a plumbing company. As their employee, I was authorized to buy materials we needed to do the job in the company’s name, but I was not authorized things I wanted in their name. Attempts to buy things which were not authorized would not be honored. In the same way Christ has authorized us to ask for certain things credited to his account, but we are not authorized to demand everything we want, and such prayers may not be honored without prior approval.