Text: John 14.1-6
Introduction: Much of what passes for Christianity is nothing more than religion. Let me clarify what I mean. Religion as is exhibited in our day is something that takes place in one’s life on Sunday as a duty. It is in stark contrast to true Christianity which is a life changing event.
A Christian is one who is born from above. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again!” The operative word is must. It is not something that you or I can do, but it is of necessity in order to see the Kingdom of God.
A Christian is no longer his own person, but a bondservant of Christ. Paul said, “You were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Jesus makes an even more startling demand of His disciples; “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” We may gingerly pass by this demand because we have not seen anyone crucified and do not know the horror of the event. If anyone took up a cross, he was not coming back. He was going to his death. Jesus demands that all that follow Him do just that.
You see being a Christian is a far cry from just any old religion. Of necessity things must be something new from above. The position is one of slavery and the demand is one of death to self. The Christian life is a life totally sold out to Jesus. Anything less is simply not Christianity.
The reality of whether or not what we are involved in is truly Christianity or just another religion is discomfort, sorrow, grief, suffering or pain. When the tough times come, then you know who is really trusting Jesus and who is just involved in another religion. Too much that passes for Christianity is just another religion.
The climax of this whole journey as a Christian is the return of Christ. Sometimes we think that is all Christianity is about. That it is something futuristic and of no consequence at the present time. That is fine and dandy if this life were one with never any trouble or tragedy. This is one thing that troubles people about Christianity. Yeah, Jesus is coming back, but does He offer any comfort now?
This whole chapter is one that answers that question. Not only is Jesus Christ returning and not only do we have the anticipation of His return, but He promises His children present comfort.
This is the scene of the upper room. It is the last discourse between Jesus and His disciples. Their world is very shortly going to collapse. They are perplexed, confused, disturbed and worried. They are filled with anxiety. They have been told that their beloved Master is going away. He even set His path of destruction to Jerusalem. I imagine they could not comprehend how He was seemingly on a death wish.
But, Jesus anticipates their troubles. He understands their problems with losing Him. This is the remarkable thing. Jesus demonstrates His uniqueness. No other man in these circumstances of facing being nailed to a cross, bearing the sin of every single person who ever lived, cursed with a curse of God, suffering the full measure of the wrath of God for that sin, mocked, beaten, slaughtered, no other man would focus all his attention on the needs of someone else at a time like this. Look at Chapter 13; verse one at how John begins his account of the upper room, “He loved them to the end.”
Their world is beginning to unravel. They have just been told that one of them would betray Him. Peter has been told that he would deny Jesus three times. Jesus is visibly troubled and tells them He will now leave them. They had left all to follow Him and now everything is falling apart.
The Lord knowing all of this and anticipating their great trouble and sorrow comforts them. This is not just a few words. This is not just a little help. This is monumental! If you ever find yourself at the end of your rope or it seems that life as you know it is over, be really comforted. Turn to this chapter and lose yourself in it. I want to preach to you under this topic: Present Comfort.
We must first be aware of just how true comfort comes. It will not come superficially by just some little words. You know this in one or two ways. Either you have been through some great tragedy or trouble and nothing anyone says will give you the comfort you seek. Or you have found yourself with a loved one knowing there is nothing you can say.
The true basis of real comfort only comes in trust, trusting Jesus. The reason you find yourself anxious, bewildered, discontent, confused, and perplexed is you don’t trust Christ. Yet, Christ is pointing this out, and it is what I want to bring out, “Trust Me!” It is that magnificent beginning statement, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” Or it could be translated, “Trust in Me.” This is really what it is to believe in Christ, to trust Him. Let’s work this out. There are three things Jesus says about trusting Him:
I. Trust in Me because of Who I Am
“You believe in God, believe also in Me.”
A. “You believe in God, believe also in Me.” What is He saying here? He is saying believe in Me, trust in Me for who I am. He is putting Himself in equality with God: You trust God, trust also in Me. Is there anyone we should trust as we do God? Jesus says, trust Me. He puts Himself on an equal basis with God. He is telling them He is God – “now trust Me!”
B. This really works out in the light of what Jesus just told them in chapter 13, verse 33 – “Little Children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.” In other words, I am going and you will not see Me. But keep trusting Me. You trust in the invisible God, whom you have not seen, Trust in Me, whom you soon will not see.
C. This is obviously something the Lord anticipated. The apostles tell Thomas that He has risen and Thomas says, “Yeah, sure. I’ll believe that when I see it.” That is right where Jesus meets Thomas and quickly Thomas understands. But that is the lowest of faith, what is visible to the physical eye. Jesus tells Thomas, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That is truly trusting Jesus as who He is – God. Listen to Peter in his first epistle – 1 Peter 1.6-9.
D. We are prone to think, “It would sure be wonderful if Jesus were visible right now.” No! If He were visible as He was then, He would not be where I need Him to be. The Christ among these disciples was in their realm like them, not able to be in more than one place at a time. The Risen Christ is like God, everywhere. John 16.6-7. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, is also known as the Comforter!
Trust Me because of Who I am. I am the invisible, omnipresent God.
II. Trust in Me because of What I Promise You
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And 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.”
A. This is good! Trust My Promises. Verse 2. How marvelous is that. He is going to get a place ready for you. But notice where the place is! “In My Father’s house.” The grandest place of all – the Father’s house. That is another name for heaven. Heaven is a country, a city, a kingdom, a paradise and here, a house.
B. In my Father’s House are many mansions. We must understand the meaning here of mansions. Mansions is a translation. The word is οἰκίᾳ. It is the Greek word for house or more precisely, dwelling place. The picture of a dwelling place is one where everyone in the family dwelled. The way it was done in that day was the father would build a house and they would add on another wing every time a son would marry. It was a dwelling place for all, the father, the son and all the household.
C. Another word here grabs our attention – Many. Will there be enough room? The Jehovah Witness believes only 144,000. No! There is plenty of room. There is no overcrowding. Illustration of our house after Katrina.
D. Revelation 21.16 – twelve thousand furlongs is approximately 1500 miles in every direction. An engineer calculated that distance to be Two Million, Two Hundred Fifty Thousand square miles. Let me put that in perspective for you. 8.2 million people live in an area of 304 square miles. This city could hold thirty times the population of our world right now and still have plenty of room to spare. Now that’s many! In other words, I’ve got a room for you. Revelation 21.18-27 – And what a city – But the best thing about it is a little preposition “with”– Revelation 21.3 – “God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
Trust Me. Not only am I preparing a place for you, I am coming back to get you and you will dwell there with Me!
III. Trust in Me because I am the Only Way.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
A. First, let me say that this is an exclusive claim, He is the way. I marvel at these who say, “Jesus never claimed to be God.” It is this kind of statement that Jesus makes time and time again that demonstrates what Jesus was saying about Himself – “I am”. This is an exclusive statement in that it excludes all others. “I am the way,” means I am the way, the only way – there is no other way. In the Greek, His statement is even more emphatic and clear. It would be literally translated, “I – I am the way.” He then substantiates the exclusiveness of His claim with “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
B. Let me explain to you what He is saying, by telling you what He is not saying. He is not claiming to know the way. He is not saying, I am showing you the way, like Phillip’s report to Nathaniel, “We have found the one…” He is saying I am the way. Jesus is not reporting the way or telling them of the way. He is Illustration: Giving directions to someone and getting them and bringing them. This is very good. Jesus is not giving us directions to get there. Listen again what He said in verse 3 – “And 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.”
C. But how is it that He being the only way is of any Present Comfort to me? This is what we are talking about is Present Comfort. The main idea here is that Jesus is the way. We know this because Jesus’ answers Thomas’ question “How can we know the way?” Thomas’s question dealt with directions of how to get there. Jesus is saying, “I am the way” and I am the way because I am the truth and the life.” “The truth and the life” are explicative. That is, they add clarification and definition to Jesus’ claim “I am the Way.” He is the way because He is absolutely truth and life. Now this is where it becomes very helpful in our day and time, because it is the common belief that there is not absolute truth.
D. Truth is commonly believed to be relative. “What may be true for you is not exactly true for me.” But as good as that may sound, it simply does not work. For example, you may sit in a college classroom and listen to a professor expound on truth being relative to the individual, but you may then get on an airplane to come home for summer break and at 30,000 feet – Gravity is an absolute. Truth is not relative. We may sit in front of our televisions and listen to the President of the United States try to explain away his troubles with “It depends on what the word “is” means.” But you may get up the next morning and check into the hospital for surgery and I guarantee you that you want your Surgeon to believe in absolutes. No! Truth is not relative, it is absolutely absolute.
E. So when Jesus says, “I am the way, and the Truth…” He is solidifying His claim as the way. There is no other way because I, am the Truth. Jesus Christ is the truth because He is the clear manifestation of God the Father. Hebrews 1.3 declares, He is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…” In Colossians, Jesus is declared to be “the image of the invisible God”, the one in whom “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells.” He is the perfect reality of God in being, law and character and therefore defines for man what he should do and be. He is the Source and originator of truth. There is no reality without Jesus Christ set forth as the Truth to men.
F. And so He goes further, “I am the way, and the truth and the Life.” Not too long ago, a man went into a law office here in Alexandria and killed two people and injured several others. All across this country, teenagers are committing suicide, and as we said last time, people are taking drugs for depression and anxiety because, what they have been told is life, they have found to be a cruel hoax. Here is the process. No truth. No absolutes. No absolutes, no law. No law, no law maker. Every man does what is right in his own mind. We killed God. Now we have no one to answer to. But Sin comes through with its horrific results and suddenly we have removed the cure and men are left with no hope. With no hope, there is no life! Jesus says I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life! What a blessed word! Do you see why I said that what Jesus gives here is a Present Comfort? In Him is the truth and the life. People are trying to find the truth. Here is Truth – It is Jesus Christ. People are looking to live – He is the Life.
Jesus is saying this: Trust Me because of Who I am. Trust me because of what I have Promised you. And now, Trust Me. I am absolutely and exclusively the Only Way!
Conclusion: Listen, friends, no matter how bad it gets, there is comfort, a true and Present Comfort because you can trust Jesus. You can trust Him for who He is. He is the living God. You can trust Him because of His promises. He is preparing a place for you and He is coming back to get you. You can trust Him because He is not simply a way, but the way.
One of my favorite hymns is He the Pearly Gates Will Open ~
Love divine, so great and wondrous, deep and mighty, pure, sublime!
Coming from the heart of Jesus – Just the same thru tests of time.
Like a dove when hunted, frightened, As a wounded fawn was I;
Broken-hearted, yet He healed me- He will heed the sinner’s cry.
Love divine, so great and wondrous! All my sins He then forgave!
I will sing His praise forever, For His blood, His power to save.
In life’s eventide, at twilight, At His door I’ll knock and wait;
By the precious love of Jesus I shall enter heaven’s gate.
He the pearly gates will open, So that I may enter in;
For He purchased my redemption And forgave me all my sin.