reader will note a different treatment in our series on the Gospel of John, and
the previous series on the life of Christ. This is a very rich passage.
Joh 14:1-31 NASB "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in
God, believe also in Me. (2) "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. (3) "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. (4) "And you know the way where I am going." (5) Thomas *said to Him, "Lord, we do not
know where You are going, how do we know the way?" (6) Jesus *said to him, "I
am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through
Me. (7) "If
you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know
Him, and have seen Him." (8)
Philip *said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for
us." (9) 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'? (10) "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. (11) "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in
Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. (12) "Truly, truly, I
say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and
greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (13) "Whatever you ask
in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) "If you ask
Me anything in My name, I will do it.
(15) "If you love
Me, you will keep My commandments. (16) "I will ask the Father, and He will give you
another Helper, that He may be with you forever; (17) that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because
it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (18) "I will not
leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (19) "After a little while the world will no longer see
Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. (20) "In that day you
will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (21) "He who has My
commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will
be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to
him." (22) Judas (not Iscariot)
*said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose
Yourself to us and not to the world?" (23)
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves
Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him
and make Our abode with him. (24) "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the
word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. (25) "These things I
have spoken to you while abiding with you. (26) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your
remembrance all that I said to you. (27) "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor
let it be fearful. (28) "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will
come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the
Father, for the Father is greater than I. (29) "Now I have told you before it happens, so that
when it happens, you may believe. (30) "I will not speak much more with you, for the
ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; (31) but so that the world
may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get
up, let us go from here.
My Father’s House
is fashionable today to deny the truth that only those who are real Christians
will make it to heaven. God, we are assured, could not possibly be so much a
stickler – after all, we’re not, right? And He is made in our image, right?
Well, wrong! But let us take the issue as it is presented. There are three
common forms of the argument:
about the pygmy in Africa? The person who has never even heard of Christ
should be given a shot at heaven, right? That’s only fair; they’ve earned
it as much as we have. Which is true; they have earned it as much as we
have – which is to say not at all. It’s grace, not brownie points.
about the sincere religious person of another faith, the devout Jew or the
devout Moslem? For that matter, the devout Hindu or Buddhist? Surely it
doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you’re sincere? After all, the
Scripture tells us that “all Israel shall be saved.”
course, as long as we’re being sincere, what about my kind, generous,
right living (and politically right-wing) agnostic neighbor? Surely if
I’m going to heaven, he is too. (But which of you deserve it?)
argument can be made more formally than that. Permit me to introduce to you
the concept of the logical contrapositive: If we know that “if A, then B” is
true, it is tempting to conclude that “if not A, then not B.” It often happens
that way – but it is not logically required. It is also the case that
we cannot say the logical contrapositive is false, either – we simply don’t
know from the information presented.
example might help. “If you speed past the traffic cop, you will get a
ticket.” Let’s accept that as true. We might say, “If you don’t speed past
the traffic cop, you won’t get a ticket.” That’s the logical contrapositive.
But it’s false, as stated. You might get a ticket for any number of other
things (like weaving in lanes, or running a stop sign.) But we might put it
that way to discourage our kids from speeding. So it’s common use – but not
to the point: if you know Jesus Christ, you are saved. From that statement we
therefore cannot conclude that if you don’t know Jesus Christ, you are
not saved – and are therefore going to hell. The conclusion is not warranted.
In fact, we are really looking for a statement of the logical type denoted as
an IFF – if and only if. So then, does Christ make such a statement here?
way, the truth, the life
submit that He does. He does not say, “I am a way” but “I am the
way.” Let’s see what He means:
way: Christ is the way to God by virtue of his sacrifice on the Cross.
Only if you claim the effectiveness of that vicarious offering for your
sins can you satisfy the righteousness of the God of heaven. The pygmy in
Africa, the devout Jew, my righteous neighbor – and I – do not deserve to
go to heaven by our actions. There is only one way – the way.
truth: our liberal society proclaims that truth is both multiple and
relative; there is no sense of this in Scripture. There is only one truth
– and Christ is that truth. Any other route means that you can get to
heaven by believing a lie.
life: Christ showed this at the Resurrection. He, and he alone, holds
the keys of death and hell. The only other destination is heaven, and he
and the Father are one. He therefore alone determines who has eternal
life – and he has made it clear how to obtain that. There is only one
method – the life.
is one, for it is an attribute of God – who is One. It is God’s oneness that
means there is only one way to Him.
of the Trinity
we can understand the disciples’ objections, we must understand the
preconceived ideas they had which stood in the way of their understanding.
Teachers know that they must often dispose of a false idea to teach the truth.
first, and persistent, notion is that the Messiah was to be a conquering
king. This is true – at the second coming of the Messiah. They saw only
one coming, and were looking for the military triumph.
second notion – and much more subtle – was that religion was created by
those who know God, in some sense. . In their mind, these would be the
prophets. It is described and taught much more than experienced If
someone said he was a god, it would seem to them to be a pagan thing; if
someone said he is God, it appears as blasphemy. It is – except in the
mouth of the Son of God.
prominently, God is One – and therefore can’t be three. Nothing can be
both one and some other number; it’s mathematically impossible. But what
is impossible with man is possible with God.
of Christ and the Father
does not argue with them; he presents them with the facts and helps them draw
the logical conclusions.
you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. Christ is the image of God.
It’s not so much like a photograph as someone might say, “You’re just like
your father.” Christ is God in the flesh.
then tells them that the Father is in him – and he is in the Father. Both
halves are necessary; we have the Holy Spirit within us, for example. But
we are not yet “in” the Holy Spirit, in the same sense. Christ is both.
For evidence, Christ gives his actions (the Father “lives in me”) and his
words (“my words are the Father’s”).
for those who just don’t get it, there are the miracles. Would God the
Father allow someone who claimed to be God in the flesh work miracles –
unless he really was God in the flesh?
with the Spirit
Holy Spirit often seems rather mysterious to Christians. But we can see the
signs of unity in the trinity with regard to the Spirit in what Christ tells us
Father gives the Spirit. Would the Father gives us one who claimed to be
God in us unless it were really so?
often see him as counselor – but we miss the word “forever.” (See verse
16). That means the Spirit is eternal – and only God is eternal (though
we shall be).
Spirit is told to us to be the Spirit of Truth – but God is truth, and God
is spirit – so therefore the Spirit is God.
reader still puzzled by the Trinity will find himself in good company. May I
suggest the explanation by Dorothy Sayers given elsewhere on this website?)
of Christ and the Church
is preparing to return to heaven by way of the Cross, the tomb and the
ascension. As will be seen in John 17, he is greatly concerned for the church
he leaves behind. The church is described as “the bride of Christ” – and we
know that in marriage man and woman become one flesh. That’s one reason the
church is the body of Christ – we are one flesh with Christ.
make this unity a reality, Christ leaves behind three important gifts:
leaves us the ability to do “greater things.” If we are one with him we
should do his work – and he gives us the ability to do it.
gives us the Counselor, so that we should be guided, as He was, by God’s
gives us peace. As he saw all things and was at peace with the results,
so should we be.
with the disciples
is very free with the preposition “in.” It is the word he uses to express
20). He says the Father is “in” him, he is “in” the Father, and the
disciples “in” him. It works spiritually, not geometrically.
there is a similar use of the word love (see verse 21).
tells the disciples that we (the Trinity) will “make our home” in the
disciple. The word “home” is the same translated as “rooms” in verse 2).
he tells us, “I will come to you” (verse 18). It is comfort itself.
secret of oneness: obedience
how then do I develop this oneness with Christ? The answer is simply,
verse 31 we have the example of Christ – obedient to the Father. And
why? Because he loves the Father.
then conveys that example (see verses 23-24) to us. Indeed, it is the IFF
statement we have been looking for – IFF you love Christ, you will obey
his commands. So love is required for obedience, and obedience for love.
– as Dietrich Bonhoeffer pointed out – “only those who obey, believe.” We
all know that only those who believe, obey. But disobedience is a barrier
to faith as well as to love.
you love me? Keep my commandments.