The Way, the Truth and the Life

John 14:1-14

We continue today with the “Farewell Discourse” of Jesus with His disciples.  This particular text is one of the most beloved in all of the Scriptures, full of love, hope and reassurance containing some of the most memorable phrases in the Bible, and indeed in all of literature.  In the discussions that have come before it, there has been a challenge in the example Jesus set when He washed the disciples’ feet.  There has been a betrayal and predictions of Jesus’ death and then of Peter’s denial of Jesus.  Now, Jesus seeks to comfort the  disciples and to help them begin to understand that the events which would soon follow are nothing less than God’s Eternal Plan coming to its climax.

This is the transitional verse that takes us from the tension and distress of the latter part of chapter 13 into a new topic.  Jesus is telling the disciples to take heart because He is not going to forsake them, even though He must be returning to the Father.  The key phrase here is “Trust in God; trust also in me.”  It is key because it is phrased not as a suggestion or as advice but as an imperative: Trust!

Then, in verses 2-4 Jesus uses the illustration of the Father’s house to tell them that His leaving is to serve the purpose of preparing their place in God’s “house”.  He uses an interesting method to tell them that He will return for them in due course so that where “I am” you also will be.  This is a clear play on the words “I am” and it indicates that upon His return there will be some amount of sharing His “I am-ness” with His disciples.

Having left off in verse 4 by telling them that they know the way to where He is going, He now responds to the insistence of Thomas that they don’t even know the where, much less the how…Jesus, with evident patience tells them again what He has been telling them for a long time: He is the Way, you can only come to the Father through Jesus Himself.  He is the Truth; you can know no other truth, for no other truth is genuine.  He is the Life, for there is no other life that is eternal. He expands on this in verse 7 by pointing out to them that He and the Father are one.  If we want to know the Father we will see Him revealed in His Son.  If we want to see the Father, we will see Him in His Son.

Phillip’s reply is to innocently ask Jesus to show the Father to them in the way that a lawyer might produce a witness.  All of them should know that no one has ever seen the Father (John 1:18). It was considered by the Jews impossible for a mere mortal to look directly upon the glory of God, not even Moses had looked directly at Him.  Jesus explains that we see God revealed in Him through spiritual discernment.  He indicates also that His miracles were revelations of God’s presence in Him.  In truth, the logic is that since it isn’t possible for a mortal man to look directly at God and live to tell the story, God has been made manifest in Jesus Christ, having become a man so that direct interaction can occur, a foundational premise of Christina Theology.

Jesus mentions that those who have faith in Him will continue to do what He had been doing, and that they will do even greater things because He will grant them whatever they ask of Him in His name.  This has been the source of considerable confusion and discussion in our time.  Are we doing what He was doing… what was He doing anyway?  The ministry of Jesus on the earth was not one designed to advance my interests, desires, wants or needs.  Its purpose was to advance the redemptive plan of God.  Are we living our lives to advance the redemptive plan of God?  Jesus is not telling us to use the ‘magic words’ at the end of our prayers, “In Jesus’ name Amen.”  He is telling His disciples, soon to become His Apostles that He will do great works through them and in fact He did; they are recorded as answered promises in Acts including many miraculous signs that were performed for the specific purpose of confirming the Gospel message. With that said, it is possible, even requisite that we as Christians have an active and powerful prayer life; I can’t imagine how we can follow Him through life without it.  However, in no way did Jesus promise anybody that He would give them a “blank check” to live selfish lives of demanding benefits from Him; this is simply inconsistent with every word of Scripture. He will give us whatever we ask for in His name to accomplish God’s purposes.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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17 Responses to The Way, the Truth and the Life

  1. Foundational truth. Well said!

  2. Russ P. says:

    If only Joel Osteen understood this concept then he wouldn’t water down God’s message to mankind into a “name it and claim it” gospel. I finally understood that I needed to read and pray over God’s word daily and use it in defense against the enemy. Because when my mind is completely filled with God’s word I can’t and won’t think of those things that are distracting to me in this fallen world. It doesn’t make me perfect but it sure gives satan fits.

  3. paulfg says:

    There have been a few comments recently about peep’s frequency of reading the bible. Like brushing my teeth I find I feel a little “furry” when I don’t have a daily facetime with our Lord. And then you pull back the covers on these daily verses with such love and insight – it is fluoride for the soul! 🙂

    Thank you.

  4. pipermac5 says:

    Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament to be “Emmanuel, God with us”, which we saw fulfilled in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. God, who had been “aloof” to a certain extent from His people, came to earth to dwell among His people, to experience our joys and struggles first-hand, to be so fully-present among us that we could see, hear and touch Him. Jesus came to fulfill the promise He gave to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15, to be that promised “seed of the woman” and “crush the head of the serpent”.

    How can we not marvel at all that He has done for us?



  5. pipermac5 says:

    As I have been studying and preparing lessons in John’s Gospel over the past year, I have come to see and appreciate the beautiful-unity between the Old and New Testaments. Many things in the Gospels make little sense to us today when they are “stripped” of their Old Testament historical-context. John also “skips” some events or is “skimpy on the details” and I have found it invaluable to be able to pick those things up from the other Gospels. That is enabling me to “present a fuller-picture” to my listeners and readers. It has been very eye-opening for me.



  6. Pingback: The Way, the Truth and the Life | The Life Project | franciscansonthemountains

  7. brcelano says:

    Thank you Don for a clear exegeses on this episode – next Easter it will come in very handy.

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