John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John Liles wrote a book titled “John 14–The most important chapter in the New Testament”, a brief description by John details a portion of his reasoning.
There are many important chapters in the New Testament. Without question, the chapters in the gospels detailing Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and resurrection are key in explaining the origin of Christianity. Yet, I believe there is one essential New Testament chapter for today’s unique challenges. We are now living through a world changing pandemic, massive cultural shifts, an epidemic of loneliness, economic dislocation, civil unrest, political divisions, racial disharmony, addiction challenges and a spiritual separation from our Creator. Many of us feel confused, buffeted and alone as we face these relentless tests to our serenity. I believe there is one specific chapter in the New Testament that could help us cope with our current problems. It offers a spiritual insight, wisdom and perspective that can provide clarity in an age of isolation and rampant negativity. The narrative contained in the 14th chapter of John occurs at a profound event in human history—The Last Supper.John Liles
I have to agree with John that this portion of scripture was an epic moment in the Bible, the conclusion of Jesus’ ministry, coupled with a dramatic washing of the disciples feet, Judas’ predicted betrayal, and Peter’s predicted shame were undoubtedly shocking moments for the disciples to hear just prior. Just as the disciples were reeling, Jesus begins to encourage them for what was to come.
John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. 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? 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
No matter how bad it gets, no matter how troublesome this life can be, or distressed we become through our failures—there remains hope.
End of an Era
Although Jesus’ ministry only lasted about 3 years, the disciples of Christ had been through a lifetime of lessons. Their lives had been turned upside down by the call to follow and when they left their careers and duties to follow Jesus, they began a training process that went beyond any of their expectations.
Thomas spoke what many thought:
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
The question was an honest one, Jesus had just said they know the way to the place where He was going and yet Thomas was undoubtedly thinking about the previous years and all the roads they had walked together. Jesus was describing a heavenly home yet differentiating between the physical and the spiritual was not a practice the disciples had quite yet learned.
The question by Thomas led to one of the most epic statements ever made by Jesus.
John 14:6-7 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Jesus had been teaching these people how to see differently. The same way He expected them to view the world and the patterns of this world is the same way He expects us to see the world today.
The chaos of our world today is not much different than what the Jews of Israel were about to experience in a few short years. The Romans eventually ransacked Israel after the revolt and scattered the church throughout the world.
The artificial class divide, the corruption of both the local and senate governments in the area, and the unbridled disdain for the Jewish people brought about a riot in Caesarea in 66 CE. There, the Zealots, a band of un-Hellenised anti-elite Jews, wiped out the Roman-backed elite Greeks that had inhabited the area.
Emperor Nero, angry at the impudence of the Jewish rebels, sent the Roman military general Vespasian to destroy the rebel armies and punish the citizens in the Judean province.
Vespasian and his son Titus returned stronger to Judaea with more men and slaughtered nearly every Jewish rioter in Caesarea and northern Galilee. Around 10,000 Jewish people were either killed or sold into slavery.
If the disciples didn’t see beyond the frustration of a government that occupied their land, if they allowed themselves to get caught up with the jewish rebellion, they might have been killed with the others.
John 14:8 “Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus had developed a hunger in his followers that extended beyond a zealot’s conquest; this hunger was to know God more.
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?
The realization that Jesus was more than just a rabbi or good teacher was a difficult concept to grasp. Jesus was God in the flesh, a reality that He had kept fairly quiet until now. The charge of blasphemy was a serious accusation, one that required death, and it was this charge that eventually led the Pharisees to bring accusation that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.
John 19:7 “The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
God with Us
Jesus had been revealing His authority over the elements, calming the wind and the sea, He demonstrated His authority over demonic spirits by casting out every one He encountered, and He showed them His authority over life, raising up Lazarus and two others from the dead and healing many who were sick.
Jesus had given the disciples plenty to consider, but understanding the reality of His nature was a thought that took time for them to process.
John 14:11-12 “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
The miracles the disciples witnessed by Jesus confirmed to them that He was the Messiah, the understanding of who the Messiah was became another perspective they had to learn to grasp.
Jesus demonstrated His divinity on multiple occasions, if the miracles weren’t enough, the transfiguration on the mount, the revelation of the Trinity at His baptism, or His eventual death and resurrection were confirmations of His sovereign control.
The power Jesus revealed was a power that He was anointing His followers with. The promise of the Holy Spirit was a promise that was fulfilled at Pentecost.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
God’s People Empowered
To walk in the power of God is a right that is reserved only for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The way Jesus’ disciples show love to Him is through their obedience.
John 14:15-17 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
The evidence of devotion is the Spirit of God that dwells in His people. The Spirit brings life and godliness, there are specific attributes of the Spirit that become evident in God’s people. It is impossible to serve God without the Spirit indwelling, empowering, and leading. Anyone who tries to do “good things”, without the Spirit whom Christ has sent, will only be like a resounding gong or clanging cymbals.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
The love chapter of Corinthians 13 is a demonstration of the indwelling Spirit of God in His people.
Then Judas (not Iscariot) asked a quesiton:
“But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Revelation of God
This is a question that many atheists have asked. If God is real, why doesn’t He just open up the heavens and speak to the world, declaring who He is?
This is how God answers that question:
John 14:23-24 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
No matter how much God reveals His power and authority to the world, if the world doesn’t love Him, they will not obey Him.
Obedience is a reflection of devotion, it demonstrates love toward God, and reveals the heart of the true followers of Christ.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus knew His people would face difficulty. If the world hated Christ, it will hate His followers as well. The peace of God lies in the hearts of His people, no matter how crazy or seemingly out of control this world may get, it cannot steal the peace of God.
If you lack this peace, there is only one place to find it—in Christ alone.
The prince of this world is Satan, he is doing all he can to lead as many to Hell. Through delusions of science to false religions, the creativity for how to decieve people has been perfected for thousands of years.
God’s true church are those who faithfully walk with Him, the Holy Spirit dwells within them, and they carry among them the message of the gospel. The gospel will continue to go forth until the end of the age, then sin and corruption will be no more.
There is great hope among the camp of the redeemed, I hope you are part of this great throng of witnesses.