What We Learned Together Sunday March 26, 2023
INTRODUCTION Hymns About Heaven
We return to John Chapter Fourteen seeing Jesus Helping His Disciples. These words by Jesus are unique to the Gospel of John in this Upper Room discourse. Here is the teaching by Jesus for His disciples. For each of us who are His disciples to help us in our journey home to heaven. The words from Jesus for His disciples because of His departure in this section of the Upper Room discourse in John 13:31-14:31. Jesus speaks departing words of comfort and care. Jesus gives His words of instruction and direction. Let us remember John 13:19 and see John 14:29 and know John 20:30-31. We are to be believers in Jesus hearing His words. In this context there is a series of questions from His disciples [Peter 13:37, Thomas 14:5, Philip 14:8, Judas 14:22]. These questions reveal to us the stirring of their hearts and confusion in their minds over what was happening and what Jesus was saying to them. In this chapter Jesus teaches three important truths for His disciples: 1) A Place Where He Goes & Prepares for Them To Be With Him, 2) The Promise Which He Gives & Proclaims to Them To Be About Him, and 3) The Person Who He Sends & Describes To Them To Be From Him. These words of Jesus present a heart of faith, hope of heaven, and help of the Spirit. Lord give us ears to hear and eyes to see what you have promised!
First, In Jesus’ Words There Is Help for Our Hearts on Earth [14:1]. The emphasis is the obedience to the Words of Jesus in the present. In verse one we see this point that Presently Not Be Troubled Any Longer Personally [14:1a]. Here the words of Jesus are commands for His disciples. Jesus also spoke these words later in this chapter, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful” [John 14:27]. The heart being a fulcrum of emotions and desires and a spring of words and actions--the weight of all that was happening and they were hearing. All the uncertainty, changes, failures, and darkness on that night with a betrayal and denial. Dear friend is your heart troubled here today? Do you see how the Lord Jesus knows and cares for His disciples in our time of trouble? Jesus also experienced such distress and troubled heart [11:33; 12:27; 13;21] As one commentator wrote, “the hearts of the disciples were filled with a medley of emotions.” In the second part of verse one we see this point that Presently Believe in God & Also in Me Personally Believe [14:1b]. The word believe is an important truth in the Gospel of John. This words means “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance—‘to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust, faith, trust.’ Jesus would emphasize this again later in chapter fourteen [14:11-12]. This parallel thought and emphasis mean “faith in Jesus is inseparable from faith in God.” The remedy for the troubled heart is belief in God and the Lord Jesus—why we would we be tempted to look anywhere else for confidence, strength and hope? We could summarize these words of Jesus stating He is personally worthy, completely trustworthy, and fully reliable. “Faith in the Lord Jesus is the only sure medicine for troubled hearts. To believe more thoroughly, trust more entirely, rest more unreservedly, may hold more firmly, lean back more completely—this is the prescription which our Master urges on the attention of all His disciples” [J. C. Ryle Expository Thoughts on the Gospels]. Jesus work for these men does not cease as He departs from them—O the great difference in the hearts of these men from the darkness of that night to the bright shining of the resurrection morning.
Second, In The Father’s House There Is Hope of Our Home in Heaven [14:2-6]. The emphasis is the confidence in the promises of Jesus for the future. Beginning in verse two This Hope in His Promise of The Father’s House [14:2a]. “In My Father’s house many dwelling places are; If it were not, I would have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you.” These words of Jesus “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places” explains one house with many rooms. So The Father’s House is “a building or place where one dwells—‘home, dwelling, residence.” And the rooms are “a place where one may remain or dwell—‘place, dwelling place.” [Cf. 14:24] How contrary that place will be to any dwelling place for us now! No updates, repairs, improvements, maintenance, upgrades, or work by us in that room in the Father’s House in heaven! Important is to hear the specific words of Jesus, “If it were not, I would have told you.” For Jesus is plainly stating that He is only telling them this because it is true, sure, and guaranteed! “In the NT mone occurs only twice in John’s Gospel (14:2, 23). Probably intentionally, the two statements correspond. In 14:2 the heavenly dwellings . . . are called abiding places which are fully prepared for them in the Father’s house. The word seems to be deliberately chosen to express the fact that our earthly state is transitory and provisional compared with eternal and blessed being with God” [NIDNT 4:580]. Some historical background about this imagery used by Jesus. “In Jesus’ day many dwelling units were combined to form an extended household, it was customary for sons to add to their father’s house once married, so that the entire estate grew into a large compound centered around a communal courtyard. The image used by Jesus may also have conjured up notions of luxurious Greco-Roman villas, replete with numerous terraces and buildings situated among shady gardens with an abundance of trees and flowing water. Jesus’ listeners may have been familiar with this kind of setting from the Herodian palaces in Jerusalem, Tiberias, and Jericho.” [Kosteberger , “John” in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament] Another commentator said, “But consider further that this great and tender name for heaven has its deepest meaning in the conception of which the essential elements are the loving manifestation and presence of God as Father.” [MacClaren] What a thought and understanding being presented and taught by the Lord Jesus speaking about “In My Father’s House” as the Son of God! Continuing in verse two This Hope in His Promise of Preparing A Place for Us [14:2b]. The focus Jesus places on Himself for His disciples “I . . . I go . . . I will come again . . . where I am . . .I am the way.” Each phrase is emphatic by Jesus in His words to His disciples “if that were not so, I would have told you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be.” [cf. John 3:11-13; 17:11-13] The word of prophecy given by Jesus in the context of other words of prophecy about His betrayal by Judas and the denial by Peter. Then in verse three This Hope in His Promise of Being With Him in That Place [14:3]. Present tense verbs used by Jesus stating a prophetic present as that which was said with certainty. Jesus is emphatic in this verse “that where I Myself am there you yourselves be also.” Another commentator states, “The emphasis in this prediction is on the comfort that reunion with the departed Savior guarantees. Jesus will personally come for His own, and He will receive them to Himself. They will also be with Him where He has been. His return would be as certain as His departure. The greatest blessing of heaven will be our ceaseless personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus there, not the splendor of the place.” [Constable Expository Notes] Jesus uses the proposition “to” describing proximity and intimacy with Himself in heaven which He has with the Father in Heaven [cf. 13:1,3, 6; 14:6, 12]. Other New Testament references in these matters would include teachings present by the Apostle Paul [I Thessalonians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23]. In His prayer in John 17 Jesus prays, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me.” [John 17:24] And finally in verses four to six This Hope in His Promise of Knowing He Is The Way to The Father [14:4-6] The repeated phrase “the way . . . the way . . . the way . . .” points us to the main point of the words of Jesus here in this section. Jesus emphatically says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” There is one way. He is the only way. There is no other way. Why is He exclusive in the way to the Father? Because of His personal sacrifice for sins, His perfect obedience to the will of the Father, and His grace for all who will believe in Him as their Savior. As one man said several centuries ago, “Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou must follow; the truth in which thou must believe; the life for which thou must hope.” (Thomas Kempis, cited by Bruce)
In conclusion we again are presented words by Jesus for His disciples so that we would believe Him. Are you believing Jesus in these days in your life? In the broader context of both chapters thirteen and fourteen the three Christian virtues of love, faith, and hope are valued for the disciples of Jesus. The need for the words of Jesus in our lives as His disciples because of His counsel and His comfort here---greater measure with increased emotions, struggles, and troubles. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7] We as disciples of Jesus are called to obedience to the words of Jesus in the present. We as disciples of Jesus are called to confidence in the promises of Jesus for the future. These matters brought to us by Jesus Himself at this time placing great importance being foremost among His many words in these chapters. Have you believed in Jesus and is He the way you are taking to the Father in heaven? Is Jesus preparing a place for you in the Father’s House? Are you believing these words of Jesus in the present and for the future?
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.