It’s officially one week until Christmas Eve! Today we read John Chapter 14. We pick up the story at the last supper of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus has announced to them that one of them is a traitor and that his hour has come to leave them. He had just quietly sent off Judas to commence his plans of betrayal and is now speaking words of comfort to the remaining men.
As always, the chapter and it’s heading below were taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are in red and my own commentary and insight is blue.
Here we go!
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus wants to give his disciples hope. They are surely confused and disheartened with the news of Jesus’ coming departure. They had left everything to follow him, so what happens now when he is gone?
He lets them know that there will be more than enough room for them in the place that he is going and that he plans to come back to get them. This is true for us today as well!
Jesus the Way to the Father
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
The place Jesus is going is heaven – His Father’s house. And the way to get there is Jesus. “No one comes to the Father except through me“. I hope you’re hearing this – this is critical.
We can’t access relationship with God apart from Jesus. Now that he has come to us as God in the flesh, if we reject him, we reject the Father too. There’s no other way around it.
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus has displayed sufficient evidence of God the Father. And how many times by now have we heard him say that to see him is to see the Father?
These last two verses are fascinating. “Greater things than these” probably doesn’t mean better in impact, but more in volume. He leaves us with the power of his name so that we may continue doing the works, both commonplace and miraculous, that he has begun. When we go to accomplish such things that are beyond our human capability, we should ask for him to come through, and we can believe that he will.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
God is three in one: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All equally one and all working together with another in perfect coexistence. This Helper would be left for us, as Jesus returns to the Father, to guide us at all times. It’s the Spirit of God that remains with us constantly and enters into our hearts the moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
When Jesus says that the world cannot accept this helper, we know that he doesn’t speak of every person. On the contrary, this Spirit is freely given to whoever accepts Jesus. “The world” is probably referring to those who are “of the world” and have not been born again with faith in Christ.
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
He responds by repeating what he had said before. If we love God, we will fight our flesh to obey his commandments. And in our love and obedience to Him, He reveals himself to us, and our heart becomes His home. Those who reject Him – who do not love Him – he cannot abide within.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus didn’t finish teaching his disciples, or us, in His short time on Earth. There was much more to be done in refining and molding our hearts to be more like Jesus. The Spirit came to take over the job.
His promise of peace, real lasting, soul-deep peace is so different than the offers of peace from a world ruled by Satan. The world offers peace in the forms of distraction, striving, and self-sufficiency. And it’s never enough. Time with God in prayer beats a self-love bath with soft music and a glass of wine any day. He is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and I’d prefer what he’s got over anything else.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.
Satan is coming to get Jesus. It is because of the evil in the world that a perfect Jesus ever has to die in the place of our sins in the first place. But he has no hold over Jesus. God uses the plans of the evil one for the salvation of the world.
Our Savior will go to the cross willingly, to die on behalf of our sins, in obedience to the Father. The Father will bring him back to life in a finalized victory over death. This victory becomes ours too – as we die to our sin with Jesus and are reborn new creations.
Jesus came to this world to save us. To make himself available to anyone and everyone. Yet, his coming and claiming to be God was polarizing, and the world has been split over his words ever since.
I’ll be the first one to say that strict religiosity does more harm than good in shaping the way we view and relate to God. But on the other side of that coin, we don’t get to make God fit the box of who we want him to be. Truth remains truth, regardless of whether or not we agree with it. We are required to accept his words and this includes the claims of Jesus to be the only way to the Father.
I know so many people that believe there are many roads that lead to heaven. To them, it seems unfair that there would only be one. But when you read and learn the word of God, as we are doing together this month, it begins to make so much sense. We can really see clearly how great His grace is for us, and we are left rejoicing.
If you have been living deceived that all roads lead to heaven, it’s never ever too late for you to repent and turn to Jesus. Pray to him tonight. Ask him to reveal himself to you. He will. Jeremiah 29:13 says the we will find Him when we seek Him wholeheartedly. His arms are open to you, and He wants you to rely on Him as “the way, the truth, and the life”.
I hope to see you all back tomorrow for chapter 15! Here’s yesterday’s reading if you missed it!