About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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   Jesus The Way (ch. 14:4-14)

 

In verse 5 Thomas responds to Jesus by telling Him that they donít even know where He is going so how could they ever know how to get there.  That makes sense.  If one doesnít know where to go, how can one know how to get there? 

 

Verse 6 is one real well known verse.  I'm sure many Christians have memorized this in Sunday school.  Jesus had to explain to them what He was talking about.  Jesus says the following.  "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me."  This statement by Jesus answers the questions where He is going and how to get there.

 

Where is Jesus going?  He is going to the Father.  How do you get there?  You go through Jesus.  I am the way to the Father Jesus says.  We need to note that Jesus is the only way to the Father, not a way to God the Father.  It's a sad fact, that even in Evangelical circles today that many Christians believe that there are several ways to God.    

 

Jesus is not only the way to the Father, but He is truth and He is life.  All truth comes from Jesus, and all that comes from Jesus is true.  Jesus is the central truth of the universe.  If anything is true, it is true because of Jesus.  The mathematical equation two plus two equals four is true.  It is true because Jesus, long before His incarnation invented mathematical principles.  Remember, "all things were made by Him," so John tells us in chapter one.

 

One thing to note here about the word "truth" is the in Old Testament Jewish culture truth was connected with faithfulness.  So, in this Jewish context, Jesus is saying that the true reality of a thing is because of Jesus and thus His truth can be faithfully trusted.  

 

Jesus is also life.  All the life in the universe exists because of Jesus the Word, as seen in John 1:1 to 5.  ďIn the beginning was the Word Ö and all things were made by Him."  All life, whether plant, animal, or human life exist because of Jesus.  You might want to read Hebrews 1:1 to 5 that relates to this issue.

 

Another aspect to the word "life" here is the abundant life Jesus spoke about back in John 10:10.  A real life that satisfies in every way is a life in union with Jesus.    

 

These are strong words from the mouth of Jesus.  These are pretty dramatic claims that He makes.  If Jesus is indeed who He says He is here, then these claims must be taken seriously.  Even if one has doubts about Jesus, He more than any other person has made an impact on human history.  This is undeniable.  Therefore, the doubter should give Jesusí claims serious thought.

 

It's is obvious that I have given Jesus serious thought.  It is for this reason that I say that once knowing that Jesus is the universal truth, I have no logical conclusion but to hand my life over to Him in a trusting relationship.    

 

Note the specific location where Jesus says He is going here in verse 6.  It's not Heaven.  He is going to His Father.  You might not think this is a big deal but it is.  Throughout the book of John we see that one of the main points Jesus wants us to know concerns His relationship with His Father.  Yes, Jesus is going to Heaven, but more importantly He is returning to His Father.  It's all about relationship with His Father, not all of the other things found in Heaven.  The same should be true with us.  So many Christians are looking for their mansion in Heaven, but first and foremost they should be looking to be restored to their God.  It's all about Him.  

 

In verse 7 Jesus says that "if you really knew me you would know my Father also."  The word "if" makes this a conditional statement.  Jesus is really saying that these men, at least not yet, don't know Jesus as they should, or, as they will.  If they really did know Jesus, in the true Biblical sense, they would know both Him and His Father.

 

The word "know" in Old Testament context means more than mental acknowledgement. It is an intimate knowing, as a husband and wife know each other.  Christianity is not a matter of embracing theological issues.  It's a matter of knowing the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.     

 

Jesus then says "from now on you do know Him and have seen Him."  As I have said many times before in this commentary, the word "now" doesn't always mean "now in this precise moment.  This is true here.  It is clear from the text itself that the disciples were still not clued into what Jesus was saying.  It was not until the Holy Spirit came into their lives in Acts 2 where the word "now" becomes real.  So, in this case, "now" is in reference to the Day of Pentecost.  Remember, Jesus often speaks from an eternal perspective because He is eternal.  Also, whatever Jesus says is about to happen, even if it takes a while, you can count on it happening.  It is as good as done.  

 

There are some textual difficulties with this sentence.  There are two varying versions of this verse in older manuscripts.  Jesus could have been saying "you havenít really known me, so you havenít known the Father, but you will from here on out."  Or, He could have been saying "youíve really known me, and therefore you know the Father, even though youíre not so sure, but from this time out, there will be know doubt."  I tend towards the first version. 

 

In verse 8 Philip asks Jesus to just show them the Father.  Well, Jesus canít do that.  He cannot make God magically appear before these eleven men.  They could not live and see God, but, by looking at Jesus, they see the reflection of God.  This is what Jesus was trying to tell these men, and Philipís question suggests that they didnít understand.

 

In verse 9 Jesus responds by asking Phillip, "donít you know meÖ "  With a touch of frustration Jesus tells Philip and the others that they should have seen the Father because they have seen Him.  Over and over again Jesus has told these men that if you see me, you see the Father, or, if you know me, you know the Father.  

 

When Jesus asks Philip, "how can you say show us the Father" He might well have uttered these words with a hint of frustration because this has been a topic of ongoing conversation.

 

Then Jesus asks, "donít you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?"  Father and Son are intertwined into a oneness that is hard for us to understand and that certainly includes Philip. 

 

Then, in verse 10, Jesus says that the words He speaks are not His own but they belong to the Father "who lives inside" of Jesus.  Jesus is saying that God the Father actually lives inside Him, as we say the Holy Spirit lives inside of us.  So, if you take all that Jesus says about His Father, you see that the Father lives inside of Jesus but also lives outside of Jesus.  This is where our doctrine of the Trinity comes into play.  Jesus and the Father are one, yet they are separate.   

 

In verse 11 Jesus tells the
Eleven to believe that He and the Father are one, but if they have a hard time with that, at least believe this is true due to the fact that Jesus has performed all these miracles over the last few years.  These miracles should stand for something.  They should tell you that there is more to Jesus than Him being a man with special God given powers 

 

What Jesus is dealing with here is the crux of our faith.  He is saying that He is divine, that He is in fact God.  This is fundamental to our Christian belief system.   We must believe that Jesus is God.  No other world religion believes this.  For this reason, we must not worship with any other religious peoples, although sad to say, many Christians are worshipping with other religious people these days. 

 

Verse 12 has always raised questions over the years.  It says that "anyone who has faith in me will do as I have been doing.   He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."  First of all, we look at the obvious.  Jesus says that we will do the things, which many take to be miracles, and even greater things, than He because He is going to the Father.  The future tense of doing these things along with the point that He is going to His Father tells me that Jesus had Pentecost in mind.  These things would take place in the lives of disciples after Pentecost. 

 

The Greek word "ergon" is translated as "things' in this verse.  Other translations, like the HCSB translate this Greek word more correctly as "works.  Jesus isn't specifically talking about miracles here.  He is talking about doing work for the Lord.  Over the centuries Christians have done greater works of service than Jesus, that is, in one sense of the word.  We haven't died on the cross for the salvation of mankind, but, we've travelled the world in spreading the gospel.  Jesus did not travel all that far in a geographical sense, but Peter, John, Paul, and others did.  These are greater works.

 

I'm not discounting that miracles are not included in doing the work of the Lord.  Many miraculous things have been in the name of Jesus by Christians.  In Acts 3 Peter and John heal a crippled man in the name of Jesus, something that Jesus Himself would have done. 

 

You see in this verse that Jesus says that anyone who believes will do these works.  Of course believes means trusts.  So, one who only mentally believes in the existence of Jesus will not do these works.   Also, Jesus was not just speaking of the Eleven who heard these words.  He was speaking to anyone who truly trusted his life to Him.  That would include you and I who have handed our lives over to Jesus. 

 

This section ends in verses 13 and 14 by Jesus saying that anyone can ask for anything in His name and He would fulfill his request.  What does this mean?  It certainly does not mean that we have a blank check and can expect Jesus to do whatever we want Him to do.  He does not respond at the snap of our fingers.  Just because we name and claim something doesnít mean Jesus needs to come up with our demand.

 

The key is asking in Jesus name.  His name means that we are representatives of Jesus.  We bare and represent His good name to the world around us.  We work for Him.  Whatever we need in order to carry out Jesusí wishes as we represent Him, He will give us.   Anything beyond this Jesus is not obligated to give us.  He may or He may not give us our list of wishes and desires.  That is His prerogative.  We must not name, claim, or demand our wish list from Jesus as Hyper Faith and Prosperity Teaching asserts.   

 

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