John 14:1-14 The Way, Truth, Life WC McCarter
We have all, at some point, felt “troubled in spirit.” To some degree we can all know what Jesus warned His followers to not allow in their own hearts. He had very real reasons to tell them to not let their hearts be troubled. Today, we will look at those things, and we will lead into and explore one of the most famous things Jesus said.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Believe in Christ (1)
Jesus was obviously troubled in spirit on at least three occasions. In John 11:33, Jesus can visibly be seen as grieving over the death of Lazarus. In 12:27, Jesus said about His own death, “Now My soul is troubled. . . .” We have recently seen in 13:21, Jesus was troubled in spirit about Judas’ betrayal. Jesus obviously let His heart be troubled, so why does He now command the disciples to not do the same thing? This becomes a major theme through the remainder of their evening together. In 14:27, Jesus says again, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” In 16:22 He even says, “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” The word means to be stirred up, aggravated, distressed.
Jesus must be making a different point with this command. I believe that the difference lies in two areas. First, the disciples’ hearts may be troubled for a time, after all, Jesus tells them that they will all be scattered, but He does not want them to continue in fear. Yes, you may be troubled, but if you stay in that state for long then you are becoming distrusting of the Lord. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). They would have plenty of reason to be troubled in spirit, but they could not stay in that position for long. If worry, fear, or a troubled heart begins to control your life day-in-and-day-out, then you are living in sin. Christ has said, “Do not worry . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid . . . I have not given you a spirit of fear.”
The second area of difference is that Jesus was mourning over the effects of sin with full knowledge of what was going on. Jesus even taught, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The heart that mourns over sin is a broken and contrite heart that God will not despise. Yet, the heart that mourns over a terrible situation simply out of selfishness is not in a godly state of mind. Did our Lord and Savior ever sin? No, so He could not have mourned for selfish reasons. He mourned over the sin that He saw and its effects. When Jesus says to the disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled” He is saying, Do not let your hearts be troubled forever. Do not worry for your own sake’s. And what does He say to do instead? “Believe in God, believe also in Me.” Therefore, there is an unholy troubled heart, and there is a holy troubled heart.
This next line is difficult to interpret. It could mean, You (already) believe in God, believe in Me as well. Or it could be a question with an answer, Do you believe in God? Believe also in Me. Or it could be two commands, Believe in God, and believe in Me. I lean toward this last interpretation. Jesus is commanding His disciples to trust in God and Him instead of being troubled in spirit. This shows, once again, what Jesus has been saying all along and what the apostle has been showing in this Gospel – that Jesus and the Father are so uniquely in harmony that to believe in Jesus is to believe in God. If you want to have a relationship with God, then you must have a relationship with Jesus. We will see this theme again in a few verses. Biblical “belief” is to “trust” in God. This is how they will not be troubled, if they trust in Him. Jesus demands the same from you. Trust in God, and trust in Jesus. Do not let your heart be troubled.
The Father’s House (2-6)
The Father has how many houses? He has one house. “Mansions” is now a bad translation. We think of a mansion as a large, elaborate, expensive home, but the world did not convey the same thing in older English. When the KJV was written, “mansion” simply meant a dwelling, any house. The Greek word is related to the word “remain/abide.” So, when Jesus says in John 8:35, “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever,” He is using the same root word. Jesus is saying that there are many rooms in the Father’s house where the sons and daughters remain forever. There are many dwelling places in the Father’s house. A house does not have many houses in it, does it? A house has many rooms. If heaven was anything differently, Jesus would have told them, but heaven is likened here to a house with many rooms.
Jesus says that He is going to prepare a place for them, and I think He has prepared a place for all of us who have put our faith in Him. Does that mean that Jesus left to spruce up the bedrooms in the Father’s house? Is He doing some interior design, some decorating, making up the bed, and laying out clean towels? I do not think so. The rooms are ready, but your access was not at this point in the Upper Room. Listen to this, Jesus went to prepare a place for you and me in the Father’s house by going to the cross. Last week we said that Jesus was going back to the Father by way of Calvary. This is for His glory, but for our eternal benefit. The apartment doors in the Father’s house were unlocked when Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.” Jesus said in 13:33, 36 that they could not follow Him. Now we can add that the men could not prepare a place for themselves either. We picture Jesus leaving earth, returning to heaven, and doing some carpentry work to get some rooms ready, but that is the completely wrong perspective. Jesus was going to the cross to prepare a place for you in heaven. Listen closely, if you hear nothing else today, hear this, You are completely dependent on Christ’s promise and work at Calvary for your place in heaven.
Jesus would not prepare a place for all of us if He was not going to take us to that place. Notice that the image of heaven changes from the Father’s house to Jesus’ presence. He wants to receive believers to Himself, that where He is they may be also. Heaven is to be in the presence of the One who made us for His glory and saved us from His wrath.
The men are supposed to know where Jesus is going, but they have no clue. Thomas speaks up to tell Jesus that they do not know where He is going. Jesus famously responds, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In this statement, many of the themes of the evening begin to come together. What is the destination? The Father. What is the route? The Son. You do not get where you want to go, namely heaven, without accepting the only means of getting there, namely the cross. Jesus is the way to God. Jesus Christ is the way because the plan of redemption is only fulfilled in Him. Jesus Christ is the truth because He is the incarnate Word, the full revelation of God to humankind. Jesus Christ is the life because He is the Creator and Sustainer of life. In Him we live and move and have our being. In Him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily in order to declare the truth of God. In Him we have a place prepared for us in heaven. Christianity is exclusive. There is only one way to be saved. There is only one way to be truly satisfied. It is in Jesus Christ. No one can worship God except through Him. No one can pray to God except through Him. No one can fully know God except through Him. No one can go to God and be with God except through Him.
The Father and the Son (7-11)
Verse seven continues that theme of Jesus and the Father’s unique relationship. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the Word who was in the beginning with God and was God who put on flesh and dwelt on earth. He says that to know Him is to know the Father, and now they have known Him and seen Him. The disciples are still confused. Philip speaks up this time and says, “Show us the Father.” Jesus says plainly what He has been teaching and exhibiting all along, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” The Father and Son are uniquely related. The Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son. Everything that Jesus has said and done is in full cooperation with the Father. If believing what Jesus is saying is not enough, they have all of the great miracles that they have experienced as proof. I think it would be very difficult to not believe if you had seen Him still the sea, walk on water, feed crowds of thousands, heal the helpless, and so much more.
Asking in Jesus’ Name (12-14)
The disciples had been commissioned as apostles to do the same work that Jesus had done. Even before that night in the Upper Room, the disciples had done all sorts of wonderful and miraculous things. They had healed folks and cast out demons. They had functioned in the authority and power of Christ. Jesus says that they will even do greater than He has done. Does this mean that they will do something even more miraculous? No, it could not mean that. It means that they will exceed Jesus in number of miracles. The effect of their miraculous deeds will have a greater extent. Jesus ministered mainly in Palestine, but the apostles would go into all the world ministering in His name and proclaiming the Good News.
It is important to note that Jesus links the great works they would do to prayer. Our Lord says, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” What is it to ask in His name? Is it to say in Jesus’ name at the end of our prayers? Will that guarantee us that our prayer will be heard and approved? I think it is important to say that when praying, but I also think that Jesus means much more by this phrase. To pray in His name is to pray in accordance with His person. If you ask in anything in accordance with His words, attitude, humility, selflessness, person, He will do it!
Conclusion and Christian Applications
This is what you need to know: Trust in Christ.
(1) Trust that there is a permanent place for you in heaven, purchased by the blood of Christ.
(2) Trust that Christ has shown you the Father; know Him and you know God.
(3) Trust in the works that He has done. He has done a mighty work in you.