John 14:1-6 (KJV)
2 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.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
7 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
A Message of Comfort
Only hours before being arrested, Jesus spoke heartfelt words to his disciples. Knowing his death was near and understanding the confusion, fear, and despair his disciples would experience, Jesus took time to offer them words of comfort to soothe their soon-to-be deeply troubled hearts and minds.
Jesus disciples were not expecting Jesus to die, and his arrest and execution were going to leave the disciples shocked and troubled. When explaining his coming death to his disciples, Peter had privately rebuked Jesus for suggesting Messiah would die. (Matthew 16:22) Although the disciples had heard Jesus preach the gospel many times, and although he had told them plainly he would die, (Luke 9:45-47) the disciples were still surprised to discover the way in which Jesus would make atonement for their sins.
It was only after his resurrection that the disciples would finally understand why Jesus had to suffer the cross. (Luke 24:44-45) For the disciples of Jesus, the days between his arrest and his resurrection was time of bewilderment, disarray, heartbreak, denial, and despair.
Out of compassion for his disciples and the internal turmoil they were about to experience, Jesus offered them four comforting facts they could hold onto during the time of their despair. The timeless truths Jesus offered the disciples are likes anchors in a storm. When troubles surround the believer, holding to these promises of Jesus will keep a believer held secure.
1. Believing in Jesus
Jesus told the disciples that they could trust in him as God. Even though they may not understand the meaning of the events as they transpired, they could trust that whatever happened would fulfill the purposes the God. Similarly, we may face events in life that are difficult to understand or hard to bear, but with time God can help us to see how it fits into his plan for our lives and bring us clarity of understanding.
2. A Place for You
Jesus further explained that his work on calvary would be done so that a place could be prepared for his disciples. Be careful to not overlook the profound meaning of Jesus words about this place. He said it was a place he prepared for you, marking it as a personal promise to the believer.
Jesus’s disciples were about to face a situation which forced them to run and hide and feel as if the entire world were arrayed against them. In situations like that, it is easy to feel like there is no place where you belong, and no place where you fit in.
Sometimes in this world we may feel as though we cannot find a place where we belong. Organizations, churches, clubs, and cliques of people may not have a place for you. But Jesus has a place for you and a place for all of his disciples. It is a place of perfect peace, perfect love, and fullness of joy. As followers of Christ, we can find great comfort in thinking about the love shown to us in the work Christ did to prepare that place.
3. He Will Come Again to Receive You
Jesus went on to promise his disciples that he would come again and take his disciples to be with him in that heavenly place. He gave them a hope that, after all the despair of their trial was over, there would be a blessing and reunion with him.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have been blessed with the same promise. We can draw strength from this promise in the same way the early disciples did in their times of trouble. Though we may face trials, difficulties, or confusing circumstance in our life, one day there will be an end to what we are going though. There is a brighter tomorrow that we will share with Jesus. Whether we live to see his coming, or whether pass through death, he has promised us that he is coming back for us, so we can spend eternity with him.
4. You Know the Way
Perhaps the most reassuring promise of all made by Jesus, was a confirmation he gave his disciples telling they knew the way to go. By telling them they knew the way to heaven, he gave them the ability to put confidence in the understanding he had imparted to them.
When we read all of John 14, it is clear that Jesus desired to assure his disciples that they knew the way to heaven, the way to salvation, the way to life eternal, and the way to join him to the place where he was going. Jesus told his disciples he was leaving them to go to the Father. (John 14:12) And that is where Jesus went, as witnessed by Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian Church. Stephen “looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55)
So, when Jesus assured his disciples that they knew the way, it included a confirmation that they knew the way to the heaven. Whether by rapture or by resurrection – Jesus assured his disciples they already had everything they needed to know pertaining to the way to heaven, right there as he spoke to them just before his arrest. There was no special mystery which they still needed to understand, there was no other special person they needed to wait for. They were already in possession of everything they needed to know the way.
Since Jesus left, many men have attempted to convince Jesus’s disciples that they did not actually know the way. Jesus warned of false prophets who would arise and attempt to convince believers that they had secret and special knowledge about the coming of Christ. (Matt 24:24-26) In the Colossian church, preachers attempted to convince believers that the way to heaven was through special revelations they received from angels. (Colossians 2:18) In the Galatian church people turned away from faith in Christ as their hope of salvation to a faith in their own works. (Galatians 3:1-11)
But the words of Jesus remained in the hearts of the true believers: they already knew the way, the truth, and the life. Because of the words of Jesus, they were able to boldly resist any attempt to convince them to take another route to heaven. The words of Jesus give us same wonderful assurance today. Having Jesus is enough.
So when the Colossian Church attempted to introduce salvation through special revelations, or the Galatian Church attempted to introduce salvation through works, the followers of Christ were able to detect the error and reject their heresy. Jesus was the way, not works and not knowledge.
Do You Know the Way?
As the Apostle Thomas listened to Jesus talk about the way to heaven, he became concerned. Although Jesus reassured Thomas that he knew the way, Thomas doubted his own understanding. This is something many Christians can relate to. Sometimes Christians, even those who have walked remarkably close with the Lord, can faces moment of uncertainty where they may feel unsure about what way they should take.
When we are in moments of doubt or uncertainty, we should follow the example of Thomas. Ask Jesus! Jesus was never afraid of his disciples’ questions, and he never rebuked them for asking. Jesus is not afraid of your questions either. As a disciple of Christ, you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to seek out your own answers from the Lord. (1 John 2:27)
When you seek God with an honest and a humble heart, he will lead you. (Matthew 7:7) Within the Bible you can read the authoritative word of God and find the answers to your questions. And if your question is, “What is the way?” or “What is the truth?,” then you need only turn to John chapter 14 and let Jesus Christ himself tell you the answer.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
So it would be clearly known to all people in all ages, Jesus answered the question of Thomas with one of the most powerful statements ever made. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Jesus is the way. He is the way out of this world. Everything we need to leave this world is wrapped up in him. If you have Jesus, you have everything you need to make it to heaven. Whether your time to go comes tomorrow, or whether it comes many years from now. Whether you are resurrected from the grave, or whether you go in the rapture, Jesus is the way. Jesus is enough.
Jesus is the truth. All essential truth is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. He is the Word made flesh. (John 1:14) The Apostle Paul called Jesus the Chief Cornerstone of our faith. (Ephesian 2:19-20) All that we believe must align with the cornerstone.
Jesus is the life. It was his perfect sinless life which saved our lives. (1 John 2:2) It was the life he lived which fulfilled the law. (Matthew 5:17) His life set us free. (Romans 8:2) Jesus gave us his life as an example to follow, and his disciples seek to live a life like his. (John 13:15)
Jesus is the Only Way
Jesus ended his answer to Thomas by making it clear that he was the only way. There is no other way to heaven, except Jesus Christ. There is no other truth that can save a person, except the truth about Jesus. There is no other life which can save a person, except the life of Jesus.
Honest servants of God will always point you to Jesus Christ and not attempt to insert anything or anyone between you and Christ. Like John the Baptist, true ministers of the gospel will point seekers towards Jesus Christ, rather than to themselves. (John 1:22) Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. (1 Tim 2:25)
As Christians following Christ, we believe the words of Jesus and realize that he is the only way. Other men and other gods may offer us another way to heaven, but the words of Jesus are final: there is no other way.
The Apostle Paul summed it up nicely saying:
For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them which are perishing; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.1 Corinthians 1:18
The Great God: A Prayer of the Puritans
O Fountain of all good,
Destroy in me every lofty thought,
Break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds,
Annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness
Implant in me true lowliness of spirit,
Break me, then bind me up,
Thus will my heart be a prepared dwelling for my God
Then can the Father take up his abode in me,
Then can the blessed Jesus come with healing in his touch.
O Holy God, inhabit me, a temple consecrated to thy glory
When thou art present, evil cannot abide;
In thy fellowship is fullness of joy,
Beneath thy smile is peace of conscience,
By thy side no fear disturbs
No apprehensions banish rest of mind.
With thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance,
Make me fit, through repentance, for thine indwelling.
Nothing exceeds thy power,
Nothing is too great for thee to do,
Nothing is too good for three to give.
Infinite is thy might, boundless thy love,
limitless thy grace, glorious thy saving name.
Let the angels sing for
Satan’s captives released,
blind eyes opened,
broken hearts bound up,
the despondent cheered,
the self-righteous stripped,
the law keepers driven from their refuge of lies,
the ignorant enlightened,
and the saints built up in their holy faith.
I ask these great things of a great God
Let it be, in Jesus name and for his sake,
The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers
Edited by Arthur Bennet, 1975