YOU KNOW THE WAY
As we live in this world, wherever we are not, there is a destination that we can eventually arrive at if we so choose to go there. And, there are a multitude of ways to get there and modes of transportation that can be used to assist in our travel to the desired destination. With that being said, it’s always helpful to know where you’re going and how to get there. It is no fun being lost!
THE PATH TO GOD
The worldview is that there are many roads to God, and each of us must find the path that best suits our spiritual need. This is known as “Religious Pluralism”; the bottom line to this line of thinking is that it is a lie straight from the Lie Whisperer (Satan) himself. Religious pluralism is self-serving and allows man to believe that he alone can find his own way to God if he so chooses to do so. Man is afraid to admit that he is lost and needs to be found. Or, he doesn’t even believe that he is lost, even though he has no clue of where he is going.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:1-6)
At that moment Jesus was preparing His disciples for His upcoming death, something He began teaching them in John 12. Beginning at John 13 through John 17 He and His disciples are in the upper room having the last supper. Judas Iscariot had been identified as the betrayer and left the upper room shortly before Jesus began to tell the remaining eleven disciples that He was the only way to the Father. In 13:33 Jesus declares that He will be leaving them shortly, and that they will seek Him, but will not be able to come with Him. In 13:36 Peter asks where Jesus is going. Jesus tells Peter personally “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”
When you are lost, it is always good to find someone who knows the way, to guide you out of your lost state. When you meet such a person when lost, you will certainly follow them.
The word, “follow” in Greek from the Strong’s dictionary (#190) is known as akoloutheo (ak-ol-oo-theh-oh); to accompany, go along with, go the same way with, follow one who precedes. A is in union with, and keluethos is a road. Akoloutheo is being on the same roadway with someone. Since the word was used for soldiers, servants, and pupils, it can easily be transferred to the life of the Christian. In 79 Gospel occurrences it is used 77 times of following Christ. Metaphorically, it is used for discipleship as seen in Matthew 9:9, As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
As we begin chapter 14 of John we can see Jesus knows that the disciples are disturbed by what He has just said to Peter. So, He tells them to “not let their hearts to be troubled”, because where He is going there will be plenty of room for them and it will be prepared for them by the time they arrive.
There’s something to be said about knowing where one is going. We all have different levels of discomfort about heading to a destination that we have no idea of where it is that we are going. The disciples were no different, for a time they believed that they would be with Jesus as He over threw the Roman government and set up Israel as a free kingdom on earth once again. Little did they know until later that Jesus had much greater plans than they could have imagined. (The clarification of that would come after the resurrection in the upper room) The disciples were at a greater disadvantage than we are today, simply because they were living the story as it was unfolding, we have the story with the outcome. So, unlike the disciples, we know that Jesus has a place prepared for us and if we have chosen Him and received His free gift of salvation, our debt is paid and we have access into God’s heavenly realm where a place awaits us already prepared by Jesus.
I appreciate how down to earth and practical Thomas is when he poses his statement and question to Jesus. “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” The answer that Jesus gives is not only profound but very bold as well, and is spoken with the utmost assurance. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
As you read through the book of John, you will encounter 8 different conversations in which Jesus makes very specific, far reaching, outrageous statements about himself. Jesus does not just claim to know these things, or explain these things. He blatantly claims that He is these things. If true, the implications, and impact are tremendous. The implications reach deep into our real, daily lives. The impact involves life-changing transformation with everlasting consequence.
John 6: 35, 48 I am the bread of life
John 8: 12, 9:5 I am the light of the world
John 8: 58 Before Abraham was, I am
John 10:9 I am the door
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd
John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life
John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life
John 15:1 I am the true vine
The seventh time Jesus uses the phrase (Name for Himself) “I Am” the pronouncement is threefold, with the last two expressions explaining the sense in which Jesus is the way…to the Father. He is the truth about God and the very life of God. As such, He reveals truth to us and gives life to us.
The Father Revealed
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and its sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (7-11)
Jesus reveals to His followers that in knowing Him they have seen the Father, and yet showed them that they didn’t know Him as deeply or intimately as they needed to be able to see the Father in Him. In His response to Philip you can sense a hint of sadness from Jesus, because those closest to Him were still spiritually ignorant. Throughout His ministry and teaching of the disciples He always showed He was intentional of giving glory to His Father. Back in John 10: 25-30, Jesus was surrounded by a number of Jewish religious leaders who challenged Him. Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” They wanted to stone Jesus for this because they knew exactly what He was saying, that He was God and one with God the Father.
The disciples having walked with Jesus for the last three years had seen all of His miracles and works, Jesus was trying to refocus them so that they could see the Father in Him. Is it possible they were seeing Jesus as only a man who was certainly empowered by God, and not see God the Father in Him? Jesus came to reveal the Father and His love for all people, because they were created in His image, and He desires to restore fallen man so that He can have fellowship with them, and us with Him. So, those who have chosen to believe receive, and follow Jesus now can be Christ like. Just as we can see the Father in Christ others should see Christ in us that follow Him. Jesus was never about promoting Himself or seeking praise for what He did, it was all for the glory of God. We are to live our lives in the same manner empowered by Christ to give glory to the Father.
The Answered Prayer
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than those he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be gloried in the Son. If you ask anything in My name I will do it.” (12-14)
Jesus promises not only His disciples but all those who believe in Him, that they would be empowered to do even greater works than He did. Wow! Now, this does not mean that we will be greater or do more magnificent things; I believe it means we will do so much more than He did while He walked here on earth. Remember He only walked here 33 years and only did His teachings with the disciples three and a half years. We can do and are doing more than he, greater things because the body of Christ has grown and been empowered by Him to do so. This passage also teaches us that we are to pray in the name of Jesus. Jesus is our advocate, He is our mediator to the Father for us, and all prayers must go through Him to go to the Father. We are to live our lives to glorify Jesus; He glorifies the Father through us.