I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
- 1 – “Let not your hearts be troubled” – This evening hasn’t necessarily been a high point in the lives of the disciples. Jesus has told them Judas will betray him, Peter will deny him, and he will be leaving. Jesus begins by addressing the tense worry which has overtaken the room. Ironically, as Jesus faces his most difficult days, his concern is for his disciples.
- The remedy for the troubled soul? Genuine faith in God and his Son.
- 2 – Jesus now turns to answer Peter’s question from 13.36, “Lord, where are you going?” The answer? Jesus is going to prepare a “dwelling place” in His father’s house for them. The word “room” which is often translated as “mansions” is better understood as a dwelling place. A place where the disciples could remain with Jesus. Jesus’ point is not that we’ll all have a mansion in which to live in heaven, but that there is room for us there, and he is going to make it accessible to us.
- 4,5 – Jesus reassures the disciples that they know how to access God’s presence. It is through their believe in Christ. However, as usual, the disciples are unclear about the meaning of what Jesus is saying and presume he is talking about moving to a different physical location. This confusion about Jesus’ teaching goes back to the beginning of John’s gospel where Nicodemus encounters Jesus in John 3.
- 6 – One of the most quoted verses in the gospel and throughout scripture. Jesus clarifies his character and mission for the disciples. In this verse, Jesus gives 3 exclusive claims about his mission, character, and purpose. In a world of pluralism, the only sin often is exclusivity, and Jesus clearly claims it here with the use of the definite article, “the”.
- The way – God has provided one means of atonement; the sacrificial, substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4.12
- The truth – “He is the only way to God because ultimate truth resides in Him. Jesus not only taught the truth and lived the truth, but He perfectly revealed the true God.” William Cook. John: Jesus Christ is God. Scotland: Christian Focus, p. 218.
- The life – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” – John 17.3. Through Christ, God takes the spiritually dead and brings them to life (Eph 2.1-7).
- 7 – “If you had known me” – Jesus clarifies, that they really have yet to understood his mission, character, and purpose. They will soon have a better understanding.
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
- 8 – Confusion persists. Phillip is probably requesting some sort of theophany like Moses and the burning bush. A visible display of the Father in some unique way would clear up any doubt or confusion wouldn’t it?
- 9-11 – Jesus’ response, I am a theophany. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Two things testify to the unity of Father and Son, 1) Jesus’ words and 2) Jesus’ works. Jesus’ words are God’s words, Jesus’ works are God’s works. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Col 1:19–20.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
- 12 – Jesus gives reason for His departure. If he leaves, the disciples will do “greater works” than he did. Jesus’ use of “greater works” immediately raises questions. These can be seen in the book of Acts, but the miracles recorded there don’t necessarily seem greater than the works of Jesus. The reference is probably in reference to the fact that the disciples were able to accomplish more ministry because Jesus was a solo operation, whereas the disciples were more in number and able to have a greater influence upon the region. Consider Peter’s sermon at Pentacost. At Jesus’ departure, scholars estimate him to have circa 150 disciples. After the Spirit’s movement through Peter’s sermon, 3,000 are added.
- 13, 14 – Verse 14 has often been abused by those looking to fulfill selfish desires. What does it mean to ask something “in my (Jesus) name”? It is not a tag line to be used at the end of one’s prayer. Asking in Jesus’ name means that the prayer is evoking the character, spirit, and power of Jesus himself. Thus, anything contrary to Jesus’ character automatically voids the promise issued here.
- Pray with the aim that God be glorified
- Pray dependent upon Jesus to act.
- Pray filled with God’s Word.
- Pray living obediently.
- Pray in line with the character of Jesus.*
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
- 15 – Jesus’ brother also said, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” – Jas 1:22–25. Actions of an individual always reveal their love for others.
- 16 – Another reason Jesus must depart is for the Holy Spirit’s arrival. “Helper” (Paraclete – Gk “one called along side”) could be translated, “one who helps, by consoling, encouraging, or mediating on behalf of—‘Helper, Encourager, Mediator.’ Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 141. In the upcoming verses, Jesus will reveal the Holy Spirit as such. The fact that Jesus says the Holy Spirit will be with us “forever” has implications on the eternal security of believers.
- 17 – One of the Spirit’s roles in the life of the believer is to reveal truth. Just as Jesus is the truth, the Spirit reveals truth to the lives of those in which he dwells. The world cannot receive either the Spirit or the truth he reveals because they do not know God. This theological truth sheds light onto the drastically different worldviews of those who follow Christ and those who don’t.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
- 18-20 – Although Jesus may be physically departing, he promises not to abandon his disciples. “In that day” is most likely a reference to his resurrection, the coming of the Spirit, or the second coming. The first suggestion is most probable as is evidenced by the disciples deepened commitment and their new designation of Jesus as Lord. In other words, they will understand his divinity when they see and interact with the resurrected Christ.
- 21-24 – Those who genuinely love and obey Christ have the blessing of experiencing the presence of God in their lives, through the Spirit, the Trinity feels at home in that type of believer.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
- The remainder of the chapter serves somewhat as a summary for the preceding verses.
- 26 – The Spirit will lead believers. He will also teach them. As followers of Christ, it is important to exhibit reason and submission as the Spirit works in our lives.
- 27 – We opened the chapter with Christ’s plea for the disciples not to be troubled but believe. Here Jesus offers peace over fear. The Spirit enables believers to walk through troubled times with a sense of peace where an unbelievers’ default would be fear.
- 29 – Jesus’ warns the disciples of his upcoming departure so that they would hold fast during their fast approaching crisis of faith.
- 30-31 – Once again, Jesus reiterates that his crucifixion is not an accident, but a divinely orchestrated plan to bring about the redemption of his people.