v 1 – “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
- Let not your hearts be troubled – Jesus, in the upper room, now is preparing his disciples for his departure. He had told them three times already in the coming weeks and months that he was going to go to Jerusalem, that he would be arrested, tried, convicted, and killed. He told them these things ahead of time knowing that they would struggle with this information, especially when it came, but it was also to point to the facts of who he is – that Jesus IS the Christ of God – the anointed one of Yahweh from Genesis 3. He is a true prophet, he is the true priest, and the true king of all creation.
- Believe in God / In me – Jesus here declares himself to be God again. He makes it clear that the promises that he makes are as real and trustworthy as those made by God in history past.
v 2-3 – “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? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that were I am you may be also.”
- This refers to the steps of the Jewish rite of marriage. The man who is betrothed to a wife would leave her to prepare a place for her. he would prove his worth and the love he had for her by building a room for them, either in a separate dwelling or, most likely, in his father’s house. This room would be their marriage room where they would first consummate their marriage, and it was proof that he was intent on making her a formal part of his family. The husband would then come, typically without warning so his wife would be always ready and always watching and take her to his home where the marriage feast would be held. Then they would go into this marriage bed, they would consummate their union, and she would officially become his wife – a formal part of his family, forever accepted as an official representative of the whole.
- There are many allusions which are built on this idea – the “marriage supper of the Lamb”, that we must “abide” (live and remain) with God as He abides with us.
- The facts of what Jesus says are clear –
- The Father’s house – refers to heaven
- Prepare a place – Jesus has committed to us that we are his and the he is ours
- I will take you to myself – Jesus’ promises, bound on the first verse, are secure and sure. Jesus will take us to himself because we belong to him.
- Where I am you may be also – our eternal destination is with God in heaven forever. We will share in the fellowship of the Father and the Son in glory. This is the eternal hope of every Christian – those who have “fallen asleep” (the Christian euphemism for death) and those who remain until he returns.
v 4 – “And you know the way to where I am going.”
- The way – Jesus concludes this statement with what can be a little confusing if you don’t know the intent behind the words. Jesus had repeatedly used the terms that we, who are Christ’s will live according to his commands – that we would live lives bearing fruit for the kingdom. That a “good tree” (those who are empowered by the Spirit and redeemed) will bear “good fruit” (that which is beneficial to the Church as a whole, to the individual, and to the glory of God). The “way”, which Christian would later take on as a description of the Christian faith (Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 24:14,22) – That which defined the Christian way of living (Romans 12-15) and the facts that we all agree.
- The facts of Jesus the Christ:
- We agree that he exists
- We agree that what he said is true
- About Himself
- The Father
- The Kingdom
- The promises of what will come to take place in time to come
- The promises of what will occur to those who are in His kingdom
- The promises of what will occur to those who are outside of faith in His name
- The promises of the Spirit that are applied to us
- We agree that what he has accomplished on the cross for us is both sufficient (to cover all of our sins – past, present, and future), and efficient (in that it is applied to our lives)
- The knowledge of what God has done for his elect through the work of Jesus Christ, and that he will come again in glory to take those who are his to him.
v 5 – “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’”
- As we have discussed before, the Apostles, while well meaning, were still fixing their eyes on this temporal realm. They had been taught for generations that the coming savior sent from God – the Son of David – would be a conquering king who would crush the political enemies of Israel and set up Israel (and the Jewish people) as the rulers over this creation. These things WILL take place, but it is the elect of God, in the old testament and the new, who are the true Israel of God (Romans 9-11) and who God will setup as judges and rulers over the land (1 Cor 6:3). They didn’t understand that Jesus was to be the suffering servant of Isa 53 first – and that this role is the one that establishes all the rest.
- Thomas, looking merely on worldly standards, is asking for a GPS track to the physical location where Jesus is going.
v 6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
- I am – This is the 6/7 time where John records Jesus’ “I am” statements – these are statements which declare definitively that Jesus is defining, with no equivocation, that he and he alone is the only one in all of time and truth who is the way to heaven.
- The truth – There is no truth that exists outside of the facts of Jesus. Man’s method for salvation is to try to do “enough” to please God – that if we are 51% good, and 49% bad then we can some way slide into God’s heaven, and that we would have purchased our own salvation by our own methods. Jesus, however, is the only truth – there is nothing that exists outside of him and he is the one who determines that which is true. His truth, the real truth, demands direct obedience. There is no other way.
- The life – Life exists at the whim of Jesus the Creator King. He is the one who spoke and the universe leapt into existence. He is the one who is the exact representation of the glory of God the Father – he is the one who causes life to exist in this world. Therefore, leaning into Jesus is leaning into that which personifies life in its most truest form. There is no life which exists outside of that which exists in Christ.
- No one – There is no way, no truth, and no life which exists outside of that which stems from, is fed by, and finds its completion in Jesus the Christ. No salvation exists for men outside of that found in Christ and in the truth laid down by Jesus the Christ. Well meaning people who seek their own truth find only that which is empty, worthless, and useless.
- To the Father – The end goal of man is to worship and to glorify our creator. This is the purpose for which we were created – we, just like all the rest of creation, were created to bring glory to God. God doesn’t need us, or our worship, or our gifts – he is wholly self sufficient. We, as his creation, were created with a purpose and that purpose is the glorification of the one who made and sustains us. Our eternal purpose is that which ends in embracing the Father and the Son.
- Except through me – Jesus is the only one, the only way, and the only truth. The salvation that is provided by him, through his work on our behalf, and to his glory is the only salvation which exists by which men may be saved.