OUR HEARTS NEED THE REASSURANCE THAT OUR FAITH IN CHRIST SECURELY CONNECTS US TO GOD THE FATHER
(:14) INTRODUCTION: FAITH IN CHRIST = FAITH IN GOD THE FATHER = ANTIDOTE FOR ANXIETY AND FEAR
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”
In light of Christ’s soon departure to rejoin the Father in heaven, the disciples were in need of words of reassurance.
Christian life is a marathon (cf. Rick running in marathon in Hawaii over Christmas break – Dec 2003).
Understand the Jewish OT background of monotheism. Faith in Christ as equivalent to faith in Jehovah God was quite an expansion in their thinking.
Stedman: That verse could well be called a Manual for Stress Management, a remedy for anxious and troubled hearts. Here is where we find the answer to the question, “How do you spell relief?” . . . while we cannot prevent stress, we can overcome it. ..
“Believe in God, believe also in me.” In this version both of those words “believe” are in the imperative mood, i.e., they are commands. There is some question among the commentators as to whether these should be indicative statements: “You do believe in God; you do believe in me,” or whether they are commands, as rendered here. The Greek text will bear either rendering. The best way to take it, in line with the context, is, “You do believe in God; believe also in me.”
I. (:2-6) SHOW US THE WAY – JUST LOOK TO JESUS WHO IS THE WAY TO GOD
“I am the Way” — the world is searching for the way to God and a true spiritual relationship
A. (:2-3a) Jesus, Our Heavenly Home Builder
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you”
Deffinbaugh: Our Lord is telling His disciples and us that there is plenty of room for us all in His Father’s heavenly house. Dwelling with Him there will be a significant improvement on their “housing” while on earth with Jesus: “As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’” (Luke 9:57-58). A good deal of the time, the Lord and His disciples may have been camping rather than living comfortably in some spatial home. What Jesus promises His disciples is a dramatic (what an understatement!) improvement.
B. (:3b) Jesus, Our Close Companion
“I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Implications regarding the Second Coming
Intimate Friendship with the Master of the Universe
C. (:4-6) Jesus, Our Absolute Answer to Every Important Question
The world has rejected the concept of absolute truth. Jesus presents Himself in absolute terms.
1. (:4) Simple Statement
“And you know the way where I am going.”
2. (:5) Need for Reassurance
“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’”
3. (:6) Powerful Reinforcement in absolute terms
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’”
Stedman: Many bristle with indignation at those words. When I quoted this verse in a Bible study once, a woman said, “That’s terribly narrow-minded.” I said, “Yes, it is, but that is the way truth is. I find the phone company to be terribly narrow minded too. If you want to call someone up you must dial the exact numbers, in the exact order given; they will not allow any deviation. The IRS is terribly narrow-minded. They require you to state your income exactly. They don’t accept a wild guess on your part.” “But I think you must interpret a verse like that,” she said. “How would you interpret it?” I asked her. She said she didn’t really know how. I said, “Well, if it is true, if Jesus means what he says that there is only one way to God, that those that try to come another way will not end up with the God who exists, but with some god of their own invention, and, if there is only one way, how could he ever have said it any plainer than he does here, ‘No one comes to the Father but by me’?”
Carr: In this passage, Jesus gives us a threefold assurance:
1. How can I be saved? He is the Way!
2. How can I be sure? He is the Truth!
3. How can I be satisfied? He is the Life!
II. (:7-11) SHOW US THE FATHER – JUST LOOK TO JESUS WHO ENABLES US TO EXPERIENCE GOD
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father” – the world is searching for genuine spiritual experience
A. (:7) Simple Statement
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.
B. (:8) Need for Reassurance
“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’”
C. (:9-11) Powerful Reinforcement supported by both the Words and Works of Jesus
1. (:9-10a) Tone of Patient Exasperation
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?’”
2. (:10b-11a) Testimony of Words of Jesus
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me;”
3. (:11b) Testimony of Works of Jesus
“otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.”
Deffinbaugh: Jesus is not encouraging His disciples to become miracle-workers here. In fact, He is doing the opposite. He is urging His disciples to believe His words, because they are the Father’s words. If they must have added verification, let them take note of His miraculous works as the Father’s accreditation and approval of His teaching. The “high road” is to simply believe in what Jesus has said. The “lower road” is to believe what He has said because of the miracles He has done. Let us not twist this text and our Lord’s words to promote miracles, signs, and wonders, when Jesus speaks of sign-faith as second-class faith.
III. (:12-14) SHOW US THE POWER – JUST LOOK TO JESUS WHO EMPOWERS US TO ACCOMPLISH THE WORKS OF GOD
“greater works than these shall he do” – the world is searching for significance and fulfillment
A. (:12) Simple Statement
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.”
Stedman: he who keeps on believing in me, not just he who becomes a Christian but he who keeps on growing and trusting as a Christian “will also do the works that I do.” Remember these words were first addressed to the apostles. Surely our Lord is referring to his miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, opening the blind eyes, and curing the lame. In the book of Acts these words were literally fulfilled. . .
But he goes on to a second promise, “Greater works than these shall he do.” What intriguing words! On occasion a young, starry-eyed Christian has said to me, “God has anointed me to do the greater works that Jesus promised.” By that he meant greater physical miracles. I submit to you that this word of Jesus can not possibly mean that. The bald fact is, there are no greater miracles in the physical realm than the works Jesus did. What could be greater than raising a man who had been dead four days, healing someone who had been ill for 38 years, or restoring instant sight to blind eyes? There are no greater physical miracles. So when Jesus speaks of “greater works” he must mean “greater” in a spiritual dimension. . .
When we look at both the record of Scripture and of church history we see how true this is: On the day of Pentecost, 40 days after our Lord uttered these words, Peter, filled with the power of the Spirit, preached with such effect that 3,000 people were converted in one day. That never happened during Jesus’ ministry. Perhaps a few hundred on occasion believed when he preached, but mere handsful was the usual response, never thousands as the book of Acts reports.
When Billy Graham preached on the parable of the prodigal son in Wembley Stadium during his first crusade in London in 1955, 3,000 people became Christians. According to the record there was no account of any conversions when Jesus told that story. That was a “greater work.”
In his ministry in Palestine Jesus probably never spoke to crowds larger than 5,000-7,000 people, but even I had the privilege in January of this year, on Super Bowl Sunday, of preaching to 10,000 people in Grace Community Church in Panorama City.
Luis Palau told me just recently how thrilled he was to speak to a great crowd of 700,000 people in one vast meeting in Guatemala City.
A few years ago Billy Graham preached to over a million people gathered in a great public square in Seoul, Korea. That is far more than Jesus ever accomplished.
B. (:13) Need for Reassurance (Jesus doesn’t wait for the question this time)
“And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
C. (:14) Powerful Reinforcement
“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”