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Sunday, March 31, 2019

posted Mar 31, 2019, 3:14 PM by Site Administrator

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I AM THE WAY

 

John 14:1-6

Key Verse 14:6

 

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

First, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (1). Look at verse 1. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” Jesus’ disciples were anxious because they heard that Jesus was going away and they could not follow him. Actually, it was not only during the last supper meal that Jesus talked about his departure, but for the past few months. But now the message of Jesus’ departure came to them very realistically and they realized that Jesus would surely go away and they would be left alone in the world. They felt so sorry that Jesus would die. They felt like crying sorrowfully. They did not want to lose their loving master. Also, they felt embarrassed because, now, since Jesus was going away, their lives would turn out to be total failures. When Jesus called them, they left everything, investing everything in Jesus, and followed him. Even if the disciples’ life was not easy, they could bear all difficulties and sufferings because of the hope that, when Jesus established his kingdom, all of their dreams would be fulfilled. But now, Jesus said that he would go away, leaving them behind like a whole bunch of orphans. They were puzzled greatly. What was worse, once Jesus went away, who would take care of them? Where would the next meal come from? They were quiet at a loss without knowing what to do, and they did not know how to express their complex and mixed emotions and feelings at that moment. In one word, they felt troubled in heart. Jesus knew this very well. 

 

He comforted them saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” This expression is very unique. When your heart is troubled, you are troubled. But Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t be troubled.” Instead, he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Our heart is neutral; in a troublesome situation, we can decide to be troubled, or at that time, we decide to be strong and stand firm. The disciples felt like being troubled because it was a troublesome situation. But Jesus encouraged them not to let their hearts be troubled. Jesus wanted his disciples to be very strong, so that even in deep anguish or in a troublesome situation, they might not lose their hearts and be shaken by outward circumstances. When we think about the situation – Judas’ betrayal and his painful death, actually, it was Jesus who should be troubled the most. But see Jesus here, embracing his own troubled heart all by himself, he was struggling to comfort and strengthen his disciples – he indeed loved them to the end. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Sometimes, we want to let our hearts be troubled when things do not go well. When something sorrowful happens in our lives, we know at that moment that we have a choice either to make a decision to trust in God and believe in His good will, or to let sorrow overtake us completely. In many cases, we choose to dwell in sorrow; when people try to comfort us and encourage us to have faith in God, we say, “I know, but let me be sorrowful just a little longer,” and we cry more. Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus wants us to be really strong in heart that no matter what circumstances we may be in, we may be able to say something positive, something encouraging, and something faithful and live as reliable servants of God. 

 

How could the disciples not let their hearts be troubled even in a troublesome situation? How could they be strong in a tough situation, when things were very difficult, and when they felt sad and distressed? Jesus says, “Trust in God; trust also in me.” The secret to be strong in heart is “trust in God.” Jesus said to his disciples, “Trust in God” indicating that God was fully aware of what’s going on and what He was doing. Nothing was out of his sight. This is the expression we see on the American currency all the time. “In God we trust.” This expression means that God is the Sovereign Ruler in our life. He is the object of our trust. We must not trust in a seemingly bad situation; situation always changes, so not reliable; don’t trust the situation. We must not trust in our feelings and emotions either– surely, they can change in one day. Only God is trustworthy and reliable. God knows our situation. God is in control. God has a good plan for us. When we trust in God, fear and anxiety disappear from our hearts and we enjoy deep peace. Instead of being anxious about what’s going on and what’s going to happen next, we come to relax and follow wherever God guides us, doing what we are supposed to do. 

 

On the contrary, when we do not trust in God, we try to pioneer our own life all by ourselves; we try hard to securehappiness with something tangible in our hands, and we try to make sure that we become successful in our career. We try to become our own sovereign rulers. As a result, there are a lot of anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, and our hearts know nothing about peace or rest. “Trust in God!” God knows where we are in His time plan, and God knows what He is doing for us. He is doing something good and important for you and for me. Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God.” 

 

Jesus also says, “Trust also in me.” Maybe, their understanding of God was still conceptual; maybe, the teaching, “Trust in God,” sounded somewhat theological to the disciples. But trusting in Jesus was not conceptual or theological to them, because they saw how Jesus had protected them and taken care of them. Jesus’ care and love was real to them, and it was obvious that Jesus would never leave them alone. So Jesus said to them, “Trust also in me,” meaning, “You know me and you know that I will not abandon you.” Based on their experience with Jesus, surely, they could trust in him. Do you know Jesus? Has he been good to you? Then, trust in Jesus! He will not abandon you; he will do great things for you. 

 

Second, “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (2-4).Look at verse 2. “2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.” Jesus understood their sentiment very well; he knew their sense of insecurity, so he tried to comfort them by telling them that they had already secured a huge mansion in the kingdom of heaven. They thought that they would be like a bunch of orphans in the world, with no place to go, settle and rest. But that’s not the case at all; instead, they were really rich with a mansion completely secured for them. What makes people feel really difficult and embarrassed is that they do not have a place to go after finishing their life journey. They leave this world without knowing where they are going – this makes them so fearful and troubled. But we, Jesus’ disciples are different; we know where we are going – our Father’s house, and what is waiting for us – a mansion. “I have a place to go.” Our Father’s house, which we are going back to is like an anchor for our souls. 

 

Actually, the Father’s house is the kingdom of God. But Jesus describes it as “my Father’s house.” In someone’s kingdom, you should be uptight, be very careful that you will not make any mistake. Then, what about in the kingdom of God? You should be really careful. But how do you feel and behave at your father’s house? Even in the church, we are careful in words and actions. But when we go our home, there we relax, putting on pajamas, stretching on the couch, and munching on potato chips. Instead of revealing the kingdom of God as an official place where they should be uptight, and be extremely careful not to make any mistake, he expresses it here as our family home, where we can freely relax and find peace and rest.  

 

What is our Father’s house like? It has many rooms. How many rooms? Really many rooms! In Revelation 21, we see the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven; it is one big structure, or building – 1,400 miles long, 1,400 miles wide, and 1,400 miles high. Its land is a little bigger than the half of the USA (3,536,274 square miles). If we put one floor every mile, then, it is already 1,400 story building; the total floor square footage is about 776 times larger than the size of the United States of America. It is about 47 times bigger than all the lands on earth combined. This will be the dwelling place for our Father, our Lord Jesus and all those who have loved God and served Him wholeheartedly, starting from Abel. There we will enjoy God for ever and ever. Each person will be given a large room, maybe, 1 mile long, 1 mile wide, and 1 mile high, and you can use your wildest sense of creativity about how you are going to decorate your room. You can plant a vineyard and an orchard for all kinds of fruit trees. You can put an Olympic size swimming pool and a private tennis court in your backyard. Our Father’s house is different from the best house in Beverly Hills. People struggle hard to buy bigger houses throughout their life time on earth. But even the best house of Beverly Hills cannot be compared to a restroom of your room in your Father’s house. Compared to the rooms of the Father’s house, all gorgeous mansions of the world are nothing but filthy rags, which must be thrown into a trash can. “Do not let your hearts be troubled... In my Father’s house are many rooms.”

 

Jesus says, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” If his Father’s house were not big, truly gorgeous and if it did not have many rooms, then Jesus would have told his disciples to go and buy a mansion for him. If it were not so, Jesus would have told his disciples to mobilize all his followers and attack the Roman Empire so that he would live in the Caesar’s palace. But because there were many rooms in his Father’s house, he did not need to tell them to do such a thing or bother people to make a house for him. Because his Father’s house was really gorgeous, all the mansions and palaces in the world were just okay. Instead, since he had his own gorgeous house, he slept wherever he felt comfortable: in the leper Simon’s house, in the house of Lazarus, in the field, or on a rock. It was not suffering, but like enjoying a somewhat romantic sleep over for a while like on a camping trip. He also ate whatever was available. He did not bother to pursue gourmet meals all the time. Whatever was offered, he enjoyed it freely. When he tasted Kimchi, he said, “Wow! Pretty shocking!” How happy we are that we have a place to go and rest, our Father’s house, and in our Father’shouse are many rooms! When we have this hope in our hearts, nothing in the world whether big or small can bother us too much. Even if we lose all things in the world, we have this consolation of our hearts that in our Father’s house are many rooms. Have you lost a lot? Do you experience pain and sorrow? Do not let your hearts be troubled, for in your Father’s house are many rooms.  

 

Jesus also says, "I am going there to prepare a place for you. 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." You know, in a big hotel are many rooms. But when a true VIP such as the President of the USA comes to stay in that hotel, the manager first checks out the suite room to make sure that everything is in perfect condition. In our Father’s house are already many rooms. But Jesus regarded his disciples VVIPs. So, even though there were many rooms in his Father’s house, he still wanted to go there first and prepare a very special place for them. Jesus here described his departure as his business trip to the Father’s house for his disciples. So they did not need to be troubled in heart at all. Rather, they must be very grateful and yearn to go to their Father’s house ASAP. Not only so, once Jesus prepared a place for them in the Father's house, he would come back to them, and take them to be with him in the Father's house. So, nothing to worry about! This is our true hope!

 

To Jesus, we are VIPs of VIPs. Right now, he is preparing a welcoming party for us. Once his preparation is completed, he will come to the earth to take us back to the Father’s house. The time for our arrival in the Father’s house will be a very special day for all the hosts in the kingdom of God including holy angels, other servants of God who went there ahead of us, and all other creatures in heaven. On that day, Jesus will show us what he has prepared for each of us – our own room, and we will be so glad and happy. We will be given a very special place, specially prepared for us to enjoy eternity with Jesus and our Father. In this world, we may suffer to live as Jesus’ disciples. But our real reward is waiting for us. Jesus has become our reward. Let’s trust in God, and be strong as Jesus’ disciples.  

 

Look at verse 4. Let’s read this verse together:

 

4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 

As the conclusion of his words of comfort for the disciples, Jesus said, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” This means that, if they knew the place where Jesus was going, the Father’s house, and the way how they could get there, then, they would not be troubled in heart at all. This shows us a profound secret to overcome our troubled heart and remain strong in serving God’s ministry continually. The secret is to know the place where Jesus was going, and the way how to get there. 

 

When you were young, when your parents told you that you would go to the Disneyland, you were overjoyed and shouted, “Hurray!” because you knew what a fun and fantastic place the Disneyland was – your heart was completely captured and you forgot about all other things. Likewise, when you know how fun and exciting and glorious it is to live in the Father’s house, you will not be troubled by anything in the world. It is big as we learned. It is surrounded by the wall whose thickness is about 200 feet, and it has 12 gates – 3 on each side, and each of the gate is made of one big pearl (a pearl of at least 200 feet diameter), and the wall was made of jasper, and the whole city, the New Jerusalem was made of pure gold, as pure as glass. And the 12 foundations of the city walls are decorated with 12 different kinds of precious stones  jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst. In the twentieth century, people discovered that in pure light, diamonds, rubies, and garnets whatever color they might have, turn out to be gray and black – so dull – these are called “Isotropic gemstones.” But these twelve stones, in pure light, whatever color they may begin with, turns out to be full rainbow color, so wonderful and beautiful – these are called “anisotropic gemstones.” This is the twentieth century’s discovery. The apostle John when he wrote the book of Revelation had no knowledge or idea about it. But God knew it and chose these twelve anisotropic gemstones for the New Jerusalem, so as God’s light shines on these gemstones, they will shine so wonderfully. Two things will not be there in the New Jerusalem: The temple because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple, and the sun or the moon, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is the lamp. And the river of life flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city, which was made of pure gold like transparent glass. On each side of the river stands the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nations and kings will bring their splendor into it. Nothing impure, no one who does what is shameful will ever enter it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. We can talk about this continually – the beauty and glory of living in the New Jerusalem, our Father’s house, and enjoying life together with angels, and with Jesus, and all his servants. 

 

Knowing the Father’s house means to have a vivid hope and vision for it – you think about it and dream about it and youare completely fascinated at it that nothing in the world seems so big or important to you any longer. Blessed are those who receive the kingdom of heaven like little children, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Such people do not love anything in this world. But when people do not have this vivid hope of the kingdom of God, their hearts are given to attractive looking things of this world – money, success, a happy family, and as a result, according to the fluctuating situation, their hearts also go through ups and downs.

 

But knowing the place itself is not all there is. We must know how to get there. Some people do not know the place, so their lives and the condition of their inner world change according to outward circumstances. Moreover, when they do not know the place where Jesus was going, the kingdom of God, they do not know where they are going; in their lives, there is no direction or purpose; they live to pay the bills and gratify what their flesh desires such as eating, drinking, sleeping, marrying, and buying and selling, until they perish. 

 

Some people know the place – the kingdom of God; they want to go there. But the problem is that they don’t know how to get there. They rely on theology and say, “I believe in Jesus.” Yet, they have no confidence of coming to the kingdom of God; so they struggle hard doing Christian things, being nice to others, doing some philanthropic activities; yet, still, they have no confidence about it, so they then, struggle hard to hypnotize themselves, saying, “I believe I am saved. I believe I am saved.” Their fear, their struggle to believe shows their lack of faith. What is faith? Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. Such complete assurance, such complete confidence is called, “faith,” and when you have such faith, you don’t use the word, “I believe,” because, in your eyes, it is so obvious and natural that you don’t need to talk about it at all. No one says, “I believe that one plus one equals two.” We never talk about it. That’s what faith is about. People have such a vain struggle of believing in theology eventually because they do not let go of that one thing God asks them to sell. If they give away that one thing God is talking about, they will have the complete confidence in God’s salvation and eternal life in the Father’s house.

 

How can we get to the place where Jesus is? How did Jesus go to the Father's house? It was through his death on the cross. Jesus said to his disciples that where he was going, they could not follow then, but later, they would. At that time, the disciples could not follow Jesus, because they were not really ready to die with him, because they loved their own life in the world. But later, they would, because, by meeting the Risen Jesus and accepting his love for them, they were completely ready to die for Jesus; at that time, they indeed loved Jesus more than their life, and thereby, could follow Jesus to the end – they enjoyed such confidence in Jesus, and they were happy with him. The cross, the symbol of Christianity, is the way that leads us to the kingdom of heaven. The cross is not about having knowledge or offering a lip service, but about having a true Christian lifestyle, as Jesus says, “Whoever wants to come after me must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” When we walk on the way of the cross, it will lead us to the place where Jesus is. When we are on the way of the cross by denying our own desires and plans, and by dedicating ourselves to God’s purpose, we can enjoy such confidence of God’s love for us, and nothing will bother us too much. Jesus says, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 

Third, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (5-6).Look at verse 5.  So far, Jesus talked about his Father’s house that had many rooms in hope to comfort his disciples by planting the living hope in it. Jesus was really serious because he had only a few more hours to go. But after hearing such a comforting and beautiful message, Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” He was one of the apostles of Jesus. Yet, he did not know where his master was going; he didn't know his master's real purpose

 

How did Jesus respond? Look at verse 6. Let’s read this verse together:

 

6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

This is one of the most famous Bible verses and is Jesus’ answer to Thomas’ question about the way to the Father’s house. Jesus says, “I am the way.” Jesus is the way. This is such a glorious and bold proclamation. We all hear peoples’ cry, “Show me the way.” Many people think that money is the way, so they follow money; surely, it is a wrong way. Many people think that relationships are the way, so they pursue a romantic relationship – we all know that it is a wrong way, often very destructive; so, don’t go that way; it is not the way. Throughout history, all mankind has struggled, explored all kinds of possible ways to find the true way to live – money, fame, power, family and pleasures. But all of these ways have been found wrong. That’s why still people shout, “Where is the way? Show me the way!” It seems that there is no way in this life, and as a result, so many people are wandering in darkness, in deep sense of emptiness and meaninglessness. Now Jesus proclaims to all mankind, “I am the way!” Jesus is the way we have been looking for; Jesus is the way we must follow, not anything else. Jesus is the way we must live by. What will happen when we follow Jesus, when we live our life by him? Surely, we will be at the place where Jesus is, the Father’s house.

 

Jesus says, “I am the truth.” Jesus is the truth. The truth is what is unchangeable, what is fundamental, what is really true, or what is really real. What is really real? People say that they are from monkeys, and that they are the product of accidents; some people even say that they are from a big explosion; sothere is no purpose or meaning in their life, because they are simply the product of chains of accidents. So, based on this, their whole life purpose is to survive - the principle of the survival of the fittest. Their whole life is based on lies. What a pathetic life it is – life based on lies! Some people say that they were mosquitoes, and they will become cockroaches. Based on this, they struggle hard to be nice to each other, hoping that, they may be frogs than cockroaches in the next life. Their whole life is based on lies as well. All mankind has fundamental questions. Who am I? Or What am I? Where did I come from and where am I going? What shall I do and how must I live my life? The truth is the answers to all these fundamental questions. Now Jesus says, “I am the truth.” This statement means that he is the cause, origin and purpose of all things. He is the fundamental answer to all these questions mankind has. Because of him, we exist; because of him, we are what we are; because of him, the universe is sustained. He is the answer to all things that are there both in our own life, and in the universe. He is the answer to all the questions you have. He is the Alpha and the Omega of our life and of this world. He is the cause and the purpose of our existence. He is the real essence of your life, and my life. With him, we see everything clearly; with him, we know the truth. But without him, we are completely lost, without knowing who we are and what we are, and how to live our life and what to do with our life; and thereby, without him, we can never know where we came from and where we are going; without him, we can never know the way to the Father's house, and we can never get there. 

 

Jesus also says, “I am the life.” “Life,” zoe, eternal life, is the essence of the kingdom of God. Anyone that does not have eternal life cannot stay in the kingdom of God because as his life ends, he is gone while the kingdom of God lasts forever. Jesus says, “I am the life” showing that he is the source, origin, and giver of life. Only because Jesus gives eternal life to those whom he wants, they can live eternally in the kingdom of God. No one can come to the Father’s house and live eternally without receiving life from Jesus.

 

Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the way and the truth and the life” is the most bold and solemn proclamation that Jesus is all to all. With this proclamation, Jesus shows that he is the true essence and cause of our existence. He is the cause, reason, and purpose of everything that exists in the universe. Colossians 1 proclaims, "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Col 1:16-17) Because of him, through him and for him are all things in the universe, in the visible realm and in the invisible realm.  

 

As the conclusion, Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Without the way, no one comes to the Father. Without the truth, no one can come to the Father. Without the life, no one comes to the Father. Without Jesus, things just exist there for a while only to perish. Without Jesus, people are just groping around, wandering here and there without knowing who they are, what to do and where they are going, and they are lost. Without Jesus, people are nothing but the dust of the ground that exists only for a while by the means of three meals a day and then perishes eternally. Without Jesus, there is no content in man’s life, and no direction and no purpose in man’s life, and they only exist for a while. But with Jesus, we have everything – we know the way, we know the truth, and we have life. What else do you need?

 

One Word: Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life

 

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