is his last night before the Crucifixion. Jesus has much to say, and says it
in a memorable way.
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God£; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have
told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And 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. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are
going, so how can we know the way?”
6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know£ my Father as well. From now on, you do know
him and have seen him.
and verses in the Bible are a wonderful idea. They aid in memorization of the
Scripture, provide ready reference points for scholars to debate, and in
general help catalog and make useful the Bible. But the very act of dividing
the Bible into chapters and verses also carries with it the risk of missing
important connections. Such is the case here. “Do not let your hearts be
troubled,” says Jesus – but the circumstances are lost in the chapter heading.
phrase is not a random one, nor the start of a new lesson from the Master. It
is a reply – to the look on Peter’s face when Jesus tells him that he will deny
the Lord three times that very night. No doubt Peter was very upset by that
prophecy – but he dares not deny it. The Lord has been right too many times.
our Lord comforts Peter with the instruction. Now, if the leader is going to
fall, what then of the lesser disciples? Were they not thinking through the
possibility of their denial? If so, then, we can see the worry that Jesus is
soothing. He tells them not to worry; he is preparing a place for all of
them. They saw the night ahead as one which would make or break them; Jesus
sees them all falling away – but ultimately turned back to him. Many rooms for
many disciples; it is a comforting thought.
not let your hearts be troubled
sometimes think that our worries are inevitable and inescapable. But Jesus
makes it clear: worrying is a choice. We let our hearts be troubled.
We have a choice about it.
is true, but most of us think we know the intelligent choice when it arrives.
Consider, however, the ultimate in trouble: death. If you are a Christian,
death holds no terrors, for you know that your Lord has conquered death. You
are not afraid of death, for “to be absent from the body is to be present with
if that is your great fear, should you not trust your Lord with the lesser
fears as well? Will you remain serene in the face of death – and panic at
losing your car keys? What is there to fear?
Is there anything which can separate us from God’s love?
his comfort Christ tells them that he is going away. That’s not very
comforting. We can imagine how that felt to the disciples; they must have
felt as if he were abandoning them. But he gives them good news:
not going because his lease has expired. He’s going for the purpose of
welcoming them into new life. (More on this later)
if he is preparing a home for them in the new creation, he tells them he
will not fail them there either. He will come back to get them.
we shall see, we benefit from both his coming and his going. He tells them
that they know the way to these “many rooms.” How often we know something –
and forget that we know it. This is why preachers do so much more reminding
than instructing. The worst of it is this: how often we forget our Lord, and
attempt to tackle the world on our own. No wonder he calls us to assemble each
will note in this passage, and those to follow, that the ones putting the
questions are disciples from the outer group. It’s as if Peter, James and John
have nothing to say. It’s not that they are bashful. But these men have seen
the transfigured Christ, the Jesus in power. When he speaks of going away,
they have a better understanding. So it is that the ones who ask the questions
are men like ourselves, who have not seen – but believe.
phrase, “the way,” is most commonly used in the physical sense.
are no freeway signs at this time. The way would be unmarked; you have
to find it by inquiring – and trusting those who point you.
can’t see the end of the way – it’s just a path through the brush. It
is danger on the way (remember the Good Samaritan on the Jericho road?)
there is only one true way; the others all lead to a different
destination. Picking the right one at the start of your journey is
therefore most important.
of all, it is a journey – an adventure. We still look at it this way
parallel to Jesus being the way is quite accurate:
still need to trust those who point you on the way. The government puts
up no signs directing you to God.
long as you are in this life, you will not see what the end will be. You
must walk by faith; there is no other way.
you will have; false paths, false guides and the things of this world to
is only one right path. It’s true – no one comes to the Father except by
is a journey, not a destination. The adventure is in the going and doing,
not in the arriving. We are just poor, wayfaring strangers.
this is so, then finding the way – the right way – is of utmost importance.
How do we do that? By seeking the truth.
of the most frequent phrases found in red letters in your Bible is this: “I
tell you the truth.”
Telling the truth; caring for the truth and living it are a part of Christian
character. As your mother told you, character counts.
Truth – for those who do not love Jesus
submit that you can tell a disciple of Jesus from the pagans of our world in a
simple manner: the pagans handle the truth quite differently.
suppress the truth – and earn the wrath of God.
There is a reason that Christianity is the suppressed religion on our
state’s college campuses these days.
exchange the truth – for a lie of their own choosing.
The Dalai Lama is welcome to speak in our colleges; Mother Theresa is
not. God in return abandons them to their lusts – so that they will fall
victim to their own depravity.
reject the truth – and so earn the wrath of God.
add to the truth – regulation upon regulation.
By imposing such a burden they hope to create a substitute for what God
has already completed.
learn about the truth – but never do it. Even inside the
walls of a church building, there are those who have listened to a
thousand sermons – and never really heard.
of all, they claim to be without sin – and deceive themselves. How
often have you heard someone tell you that God will always take a man of
good works into heaven? I’ve been pretty good; why would I need a
Truth – for those who do love Jesus
then, can we see the children of light and the truth they proclaim? The
Scripture gives us a few guidelines:
rejoices in the truth.
When the truth is revealed, are we overjoyed – or looking for another
children of God say nothing against the truth – they only speak for
They praise truth, and always speak it; they also reverence it.
children of God obey the truth.
It is their rule and practice of life. This is a witness to others as
children of God speak the truth in love. Truth is not a bludgeon
for the head but a balm for the soul.
children of God bring back the wayward by the truth.
Those who stray are retrieved not by having a good time, but the loving
application of the truth.
children of God are purified by obeying the truth.
Obedience restores the relationship with the Father.
the children of God are firmly established in the truth.
Truth becomes a habit; obedience becomes a habit; love becomes a habit –
and wonderful are such habits.
tells us he is the truth. God is his attributes, and we see God in the flesh
the word used here is not the one for spiritual life, but physical life. In
this we see a shadow of things to come at the Resurrection.
Life – in this life
Old Testament taught us that “life is in the blood.”
This is the reason that Christ, in establishing the Lord’s Supper, told us to
drink and remember him -
”this is my blood”. Hardened hearts are needed to reject this life.
The word means biological life – which is why the Scripture reveals to us that
we reveal that life in our bodies:
Holy Bible, New International Version
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this
all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but
not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck
down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the
death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for
Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Cor. 4:7 through 2 Cor. 4:12 (NIV)
The Life to Come
this points, of course, to the life to come. If there is no life after the
grave, then we are fools indeed. But Jesus tells us that he is indeed the
resurrection and the life.
The Resurrection is not only proof of God’s power in Christ, it is the first
sampling of the resurrection to come when Christ returns to claim his own. The
things we do in this life are of little importance if they relate to the body
now – but of great importance as they relate to the body forever.
then should we do? It is a matter of knowing where to put your treasures. We
are counseled to lay up treasure in heaven – knowing that when we die what we
have here will be ours no longer.
The Life Approved
gives us a vision of the life approved by God:
Holy Bible, New International Version
2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and
we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared
to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you
also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and
with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our£ joy complete.
John 1:2 through 1 John 1:4 (NIV)
how simple it really is:
you see and know, you testify.
do so in fellowship with all Christians as well as with God.
doing this, you make your joy complete.
should walk away knowing who is the way, the truth, the life. But what can we
do about this truth in our daily lives?
that this is a journey, not a destination. Never be content to be what
you are, but move further on.
in Christ. He who triumphed over death is your guide.
the dangers along the way by trust and obedience.
uphold, and never deny, the truth. No matter how inconvenient this will
truth is not a bludgeon; handle it with love.
you know the truth, be obedient to it.
the life of Christ in your own body. Chastity, for example, speaks loudly
in these times.
up treasures in heaven, not on earth.
your Lord in all you do; testify to his goodness to you; and rejoice.