Jesus: The Way to God

John 14:1-10 "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 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 initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works."

This evening, I want John to take us on a journey of the last days of Jesus' life. I want you to see the turmoil among the Jewish people because of Jesus.

  1. Sometime after Jesus gave his lesson on being the good shepherd, Jesus went to the Jewish religious Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem.
    1. By that time Jesus was such a divisive, controversial figure that some wanted to kill him by stoning him (John 10:31).
      1. Some were especially enraged at Jesus because he openly affirmed his relationship with God the Father.
      2. When they tried to kill Jesus by stoning, he asked, "For which of my good works are you stoning me?"
      3. When they tried to capture him and kill him a second time, Jesus eluded their grasp.
    2. Because the danger to his life was quite real, Jesus went to an obscure place near the Jordan River to stay.
      1. He stayed in the place until Lazarus died.
      2. The disciples knew why he left Jerusalem, knew the reality of the danger to Jesus, and understood why they were in such an obscure place.
      3. When Jesus announced that for the sake of Lazarus he was returning to the Jerusalem area, the disciples did not think that was a good idea.
        1. They said, "The last time you were there they tried to kill you by stoning you!"
        2. Thomas, also called the Twin, said "Let us go back with him and die with him."
    3. When Jesus returned to Bethany (only two miles from Jerusalem), Lazarus already had been dead for 4 days.
      1. John 11 describes how Jesus in public sight raised Lazarus from the dead.
      2. John 12 describes how Jesus attended a supper at Lazarus' home.
        1. It was at that time that Mary anointed Jesus' feet with an expensive perfume and dried his feet with her hair.
        2. It was at that time that the greedy, thieving Judas Iscariot bemoaned the fact that this was a waste of money--the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.

  2. It would be difficult to exaggerate what a controversial figure Jesus was at that moment.
    1. Listen to John 12:9-11:
      The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
      1. Part of them want to see Jesus or Lazarus out of curiosity.
      2. Part of them believed in Jesus.
      3. Part of them want to kill both Lazarus and Jesus.
    2. A large number of Jews came to the feast because they heard Jesus would be there and some wanted to see both Jesus and Lazarus.
      1. This was a moment of great popularity for Jesus.
      2. It was the time of the triumphal entry.
      3. It was a time of deep concern of the Pharisees for their ineffectiveness and Jesus' popularity (12:19).
      4. Jesus told his disciples that the time had come for him to be glorified (12:23), but what Jesus meant and what the disciples expected were distinctly different.
    3. Those who disagreed with Jesus in the multitude turned against him.
      1. Jesus hid from those who did not believe.
      2. Many who believed were afraid to declare their faith.
    4. It was a time of confusion for the disciples.
      1. They did not understand what was happening.
      2. However, they viewed Jesus as invincible--he had returned to Jerusalem without being killed and seemed untouchable.
      3. This was the time of Jesus washing the disciples' feet and stressing the way to God was through service, not through position and ruling.

  3. Focus on some things from our reading in John 14.
    1. Jesus knew the disciples did not know what was happening.
      1. Basically, he told them, "Trust me. You trust God; trust me with the same trust.
        1. "I am leaving, and you cannot go with me."
        2. "But it is okay--you know the way to where I am going."
        3. "I am coming back for you."
      2. Thomas: "We do not know the way!"
        1. Jesus: "You know me, and I am the way."
        2. Jesus: "I am the way to the Father."
      3. Philip: "Show us the Father, and that will be enough."
        1. Jesus: "Have you not understood anything?"
        2. Jesus: "If you know me, you know the Father."
        3. Jesus: "I do not speak or act for myself, but for the Father."
    2. We understand the key thought is found in his statement in John 14:6:
      Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    3. Let me call some things to your attention.
      1. The key is not in eliminating all our confusion; the key is in trusting Jesus.
        1. The disciples were truly confused, and Jesus knew it.
        2. They expected the wrong things to happen.
        3. That was okay if they trusted Jesus.
        4. Too often we want to replace trust with our understanding.
      2. The key is not being perfectly correct; the key is trusting Jesus.
        1. The disciples were not correct in their expectations.
        2. They were going to be extremely confused.
        3. If they trusted Jesus, it would be okay.
      3. The key is not in "being shown," but in trusting Jesus.
        1. It is not a matter of trusting what we see and experience; it is a matter of trusting who Jesus is and what he did.
        2. It is not a matter of figuring it out; it is a matter of trusting Jesus when we cannot figure it out.
    4. What did Jesus mean by declaring He was the way, the truth, and the life?
      1. If you want to understand God's purposes and priorities, look at Jesus.
      2. If you want to understand how to get to God, look at Jesus.
      3. Life is found in Jesus, and no where else.

  4. Allow me to make some observations.
    1. We tend to be a people who place great faith in ourselves.
      1. Often we have confidence because of our knowledge.
      2. Often we have confidence because of "our stand."
      3. Often we have confidence because of our explanations.
      4. Often we have confidence because of our history.
      5. Often we have confidence because of our purposes and objectives.
      6. Jesus told the 12, you need to have confidence for one reason--you know me.
    2. We tend to replace faith in Jesus with faith in ourselves or our accomplishments.
      1. We are not the way to God; Jesus is.
      2. We are not the truth; Jesus is.
      3. We are not the life; Jesus is.
    3. We all need to seek correctness, but we never need to put our trust in ourselves.
      1. It has never been about what we do for God.
      2. It always has been about what God did for us in Jesus' cross and resurrection.

There is nothing as important as trusting Jesus. Only he is the way to God. Only he is the truth about relationships with people and God. Only he is the source of life.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 04 December, 2005

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