Friday 26 August 2022


JOHN 14. V 1-14

I am the way, the truth, the life

The passage I have chosen to speak to you about this morning, is one of the best known passages in the New Testament, even to non- Church people, and contains words which are so relevant to Christian living and belief.         

Jesus was spending His last night with the Apostles in what is known as the Upper Room, for the Last Supper. Judas was about to betray Him, and when Judas had left, Jesus told the remaining Apostles that the time for Him to be glorified had come. 

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, and believe also in me.                                                                                                  

What Jesus meant by this was, this was the last time He would speak to them before He was to die.  His glory is that He is on His way to the Cross, His work on this earth is over, and the crucifixion will also bring glory to the Father.  It is the end of a close relationship of three years, and time to say goodbye. Jesus uses the word believe, meaning them to have a personal, relational trust. 

He told them they were to believe in Him, as well as God. Most people believe in God, but have less thought for Jesus.  He was putting Himself alongside God, and wanted them to trust Him and maintain a personal relationship.

Jesus was speaking to His disciples shortly before going to the Cross, teaching and giving guidance, and that same teaching is passed down for the benefit of all Christians throughout the ages. Jesus had told them He was going to leave them for He was going on a journey He had to take alone. 

The Apostles were devastated at the thought.  Perhaps you can imagine their feelings, if you reflect on how people feel when a Minister they are happy with, suddenly tells them that he is moving to another Church.  This invariably causes sadness, unless there is a poor relationship.  I have experienced this on three occasions in ministry, and it is hard to disassociate oneself completely; it can be quite sad as friends part, and will not met again in this world.    ,

The heart is the seat of all our emotions, and when that is upset, it affects thoughts and actions and causes personal disturbance. Jesus wanted to reassure them He was not forsaking them. 

He said, in my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.  And you know the place to where I am going.   He was meaning heaven, and He was going to prepare a place for them.  This meant there was the prospect of living for ever with Him there.

When Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for them, this was referring to the fact He was going to the Cross to die for the forgiveness of sins for all people.

When Jesus said they knew the place where He was going, Thomas asked Him how they could know when they didn’t know the way.  This brought forth from Jesus that profound immortal statement, I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

When Jesus says,  I am the way, He is meaning there is just no other way  we can know God.

 Some time ago I went to Birmingham and had to find an address.  I asked a man walking on a road if he could tell me the way, and he answered, ‘it is pretty difficult for you to get there on your own, but I am going that way and could take you’.  He got into my car and we went directly there.  That is what Jesus does for us.  He says you can’t get there on your own, but I will direct you, guide you, and take you myself.  He is saying there is no other way.  This is an exclusive offer.

This statement of Jesus is not generally liked, as it is seen as being too restrictive, too bigoted and intolerant, and to be judgmental is not liked.  Consequently, some clergy will not quote it, whilst others just will not accept it.  Frankly, I think if any man/woman does not accept this verse, then they should not be allowed to preach, for they are betraying the Lord who said it, and the Church which they serve.

Jesus said I am the truth.  If a person is to teach moral truth, that person must have an impeccable reputation, and have no hidden misdoings.  Only Jesus can claim moral perfection, which is why He can say ‘I am the truth’.

Thirdly Jesus says I am the life, meaning the opposite of death.  He is the source of life and gives life to His own.  Just as death means separation from life.   

Jesus then states I am in the Father and the Father is in me. There is a complete mutual indwelling of the Father and Son. Jesus went on to say, I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask for in my name, this I will do that the Father may be glorified.  This suggests that we can pray directly to Jesus, but other biblical verses encourage us to pray to God. We must accept He was God’s representative here on earth; He saved, He is the way to God, He gives life.


Let us reflect on this great passage.

It is widely quoted in funeral services, when people assume that everyone is automatically going to heaven.  I have taken hundreds of funerals over the years, and there has never been doubt in anyone’s mind, that the deceased is going to heaven irrespective of the life led. I find it truly amazing how so many people know of it. If they were to be asked who Jesus was, it would be interesting to hear their answer. Indeed, to ask many people who Jesus was, I am sure they could not give an acceptable answer, including Church members. For so many people ‘Jesus' was just a swear word, and a lot of children would only know it as such. This is why the Church should be telling, He was the most important man who ever lived.

Jesus once asked Peter, ‘who do you, say I am?’ Peter gave the answer that pleased Jesus, when Peter recognised Jesus as the Christ the Son of the living God. Think what you would say if asked that question, it is not so easy as you may imagine.

Jesus was the Son of God, and time has been set by the time of His birth through the centuries, as before and after His birth. It is a fact of history that He died on a Cross, and three days later was seen risen from the dead by numerous witnesses.  Other faiths have leaders, but only Christianity has a Saviour.

 Whilst it may be comforting to believe that we can all get to heaven regardless of one’s beliefs, and we like to please our fellow men and women, it is quite cruel to mislead if it is not true.  It is like telling a blind person standing on the sidewalk of a major road it is safe for him to cross when ready.  If we say to someone who has no Church commitment, has only a tenuous belief in Jesus Christ, never reads a Bible or prays, that they are going to heaven, we are leading them astray. Jesus made this quite clear in the Bible, for whenever He spoke of heaven, He spoke of hell; of sheep and goats, of tares an wheat.

Others say if you just follow your conscience you’ll be fine, but consciences become dulled and hardened.  Taking the lead from politicians, people can look you in the eye and lie without any qualm of conscience.

In this passage before us He is talking to His followers, people who have made a personal commitment to accept Him as Saviour.  This is why it is so important for each person to make his/her own decision, whether to follow Jesus in His teaching, commands and demands.

The Bible is all about commitment. We are reminded of the superficiality of commitment in our own time.  Less than 10% of people think God worthy of one hour per week to visit a Church.  Yet if you were to ask people their religion, the vast majority would reply C of E and seriously consider they were Christians.  They would be mortally offended if you suggested otherwise. Very few people seem bothered to think of Jesus, even less to do anything about it.

It is easy to say I am a Christian, 95% of the population today believe as long as you are honest, kind and helpful to others and do no harm, or you have another faith, you are a fully-fledged Christian. Jesus speaks firmly and rather profoundly, when He says not all who think they are to enter the Kingdom of heaven will in fact do so.

If you want to go to stay at a hotel in some foreign country, you invariably go to a travel agent who arranges everything for you, and when you arrive at the hotel, they have a reservation waiting. You cannot just turn up because you think you are entitled to stay there without some preparation. Likewise, you cannot expect a place in heaven, without the preparation of accepting that Jesus gave his life on The Cross to save mankind from their sins, and that includes you.

 In every action of life, we are confronted with a choice, where we must make a decision to do one thing or another.  Jesus confronted us with a hard or an easy way.  He makes uncompromising and tough demands of commitment, which many people cannot take, and are not prepared to commit.     Then as now, some are ready to listen and walk with Him, learning to depend on Him, whilst others are just occasional supporters. 

The Church in general in its desire to be nice and friendly to all, with a craving to please society in general, has not always given sound teaching on this; there is no blank promise. and if we do not follow Him, our end will not be in the rooms of His Father’s house.

It can be hard to be a Christian in this country at the present time, and many find the going too hard and strenuous, and the opposition oppressive.  We have come to a state in this country now, where a Christian person may not express a personal view based on sincere religious belief, if it might offend someone    Any open expression of our faith is likely to lead to suspension or dismissal from work, and even the most innocuous adverse comment upon human behaviour will raise hysterical shouts of phobia or bigotry. There is so much harassment of Christians, which is not reported here, and you have to listen to the American news channels to discover what is going on in this country.       

I cannot understand how we can share in multi-faith worship and maintain Biblical integrity.     Whilst I believe we should respect other faiths and try to live amicably with them, in view of the unique teaching of our Lord, that He alone is the way to God, we cannot justify sharing in multi faith services when our beliefs are so different, and it is matter of recognising the unique authority of Jesus.  Only Christianity maintains that Jesus Christ as divine and salvation was earned by Jesus on the Cross.  Jesus is quite unequivocal.

It is widely claimed, erroneously, that we all worship the same God, and all religions have the same way to heaven.  Islam worships ‘Allah’ and see Jesus as a good man in the social sense, or a prophet at best.   Indeed, the Islamic faith states, ‘God has no son’, which is in direct contravention of Jesus’ nature.    We should each respect the right of the other in their belief, and try to live peacefully together.

I do admire the devotion and loyalty of Islam. Muslims are Muslims in the full sense of the word, and they find difficulty in understanding how  Christians reject their faith so completely.  Why, on the Lord’s birthday so many get drunk and engage in orgies. They will fight and defend their faith, and the men will not feel embarrassed or ashamed to be seen going to worship. Put many Englishmen in a Church and they feel lost and disorientated.

It is a common perception these days that religious thoughts should not be expressed in public arena.  Christians have gone along with this and divided their lives into two spheres, spiritual and secular.

We are accused of being narrow minded and improper for bringing up our children as believers, and if we should commit the ultimate crime, of suggesting our faith influences how and what we teach them, and object to them being asked if they thinking they are of the right gender, we are of course a multiple of phobias. We are allowed to visit the sick and care for the poor as long as don’t mention praying for them.    

Jesus warns us that there must be a clear acceptance of His teaching, and total obedience to it.  Just to recite a creed and attend Church is not enough. We honour Jesus by calling Him Lord, and sing hymns expressive of our devotion to Him.  The lips that sing His praise should never be the lips that challenge Holy Scripture. 

The temptation for us, as Christians, is to say what makes us popular.  Too many preachers have forgotten about being authentic; about being true to the Gospel we have been entrusted with by our Lord; to be true to our values, and to proclaim them without embarrassment and fear. 

The Bible tells us we must contend for the faith once given to  Christians.  The faith once given means the faith that which was given by the Apostles who had been taught by Jesus and which was blessed by God when the Church was first established.  Let this be the faith we adopt and believe and not that now being re-interpreted to suit modern culture.  Our faith is not something someone made up, it is historical and spiritual fact.

     May God bless His Word to us and enable us to give our service to Him                                                                                                    

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