John 14

Introduction

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ John 14:1-4

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

This is a continuance from John 13:38, of the previous chapter. The chapter division splits Jesus in the middle of the full answer to Peter when he asked ‘why can’t I follow you now?’

It could be said that Jesus now addresses the entire group, not Peter exclusively. Indeed all these questions could have been asked by any of the disciples and thus the answers are relevant to all.

The disciples were scared and confused because their Lord has said He is leaving, and He has just accused the most faithful of the group of disowning Him, John 13:31-38.

Jesus sees their worried expressions, particularly Peter’s, and takes a moment to put them at ease and so, He encourages them to trust and not to allow themselves to become over-anxious.

The words, ‘do not let your hearts be troubled’, John 14:1, literally means, ‘stop being troubled’ or ‘set your troubled hearts at rest.’ The word, ‘heart, ‘kardia’ isn’t speaking of the physical heart.

It’s speaking of man’s active mental and moral activity, both the rational and emotional elements, John 12:40 / John 16:6 / John 16:22. Notice how Jesus views death, it’s really no big deal.

The phrase, ‘My Father’s house’, John 14:2, is usually understood to be heaven, the rooms, abiding places, all referring to the fact that in His Father’s house, there will be plenty of room for all who get there.

He could be thinking about the temple because there were many rooms within the temple and so in a sense, Jesus could be saying that death is no big deal, it’s just like going from one room to another.

When Jesus says, ‘I go to prepare a place for you’, John 14:2, He assures them personally, that the separation will not be permanent. This same verb is used in Mark 14:12 concerning preparing the Passover, and so as they prepared for the Passover, so he was preparing a place for them.

What does Jesus mean in John 14:3? He could be speaking about His resurrection was a coming again, or He could be speaking about the death of every faithful disciple was a coming again.

He could be speaking about the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, was His coming again or He could be speaking about His future coming from heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 / John 12:25-26. It’s possible that all of these are correct.

Jesus goes on to teach them that He is the way to God, John 10:9 / John 14:4 / John 14:6, and He tells them that He is going to return and when He does, they will know the way to the new home.

Jesus says, ‘no one comes to the Father but by me’, John 14:6. These words on the lips of man, would brand him as narrow egotistical, or even mad, but on the lips of Jesus, it is a statement that does New Testament seem out of character. He is the only way to God can only be true if He is truly incarnate deity, John 1:1-2 / John 1:14-18 / Colossians 2:9.

If Jesus isn’t deity then this statement is stupid and blasphemous. Are there other ways to God? Hinduism, or Buddhism, this verse says No. Jesus claims exclusivity.

The word ‘known’, ‘ginosko’ in John 14:7 means to know by personal experience, they knew Jesus personally but they didn’t have full and accurate knowledge of His character and designs.

They had a wrong concept of His Messiahship and kingdom and they refused to believe that He would have to die and come back again. They would know and understand, these things after the resurrection, Luke 24:45-47.

I am the way and the truth and the life

‘Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ John 14:5-7

Jesus talks with Thomas but I’m quite sure that all the men were thinking the same thing here. They didn’t know the way, they were going backwards and becoming more and more confused. The disciples not only didn’t know the way, but they also didn’t even know the destination.

Here we see Thomas making two mistakes.

1. He may have thought the Master was leaving in death, or that He was to go to another area.

In the latter case, the way would be an ordinary road and Thomas would have made a mistake similar to that made by the Jews in John 7:35. Was this work a failure and Jesus was now abandoning it for other areas?

2. He thought Jesus was referring to the way He needed to travel, but Jesus makes it quite clear that He had the road the disciples and all else who follow later in mind.

Thomas does make one very relevant point, if we don’t tell of the destination, how will the lost ever possibly find ‘the way’? Notice also that Thomas didn’t pretend to have knowledge that he didn’t have, John 20:24-25.

I AM

There are 16 signs recorded in John’s gospel, 8 are things which Jesus did and 8 were things which Jesus said. John is basically saying that the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are signs, selected from many other signs.

And he says these signs are selected with a purpose in mind and that purpose is that you believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, John 20:30-31.

Here we find the seventh of the eight of Jesus’ I AM’ claims, John 6:35 / John 8:12 / John 8:58 / John 10:9 / John 10:11 / John 11:25 / John 14:6 / John 15:1.

Each of His ‘I AM’ claims are claims that He is God, EGO EIMI, is the Greek equivalent of YHWH, Exodus 3:13-14 / John 5:18. He is Eternal, Psalm 135:13, and self-existent, Psalm 88:6-7.

When we come to the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus, we need to remember that Jesus was not giving Himself a Name or a title, but was asserting His Deity. In other words every ‘I AM’ reveals some aspect of His nature and purpose.

I AM The Way

Jesus never went outside of scripture for an illustration, Isaiah 35 talks about the kingdom, the WAY of holiness. Hebrews talks about boldness and a new and living way, Hebrews 10:19-20, the word for way is ‘hodos’ which means the road.

The High priest would take the blood and the blood was spilt on the way to the Holy of Holies, sprinkled blood on way, blood-stained way.

Jesus says He is the way, John 14:6, He’s not showing the way because He is the way. Three times on the same day, the high priest would sacrifice for the following reasons.

1. For his own sins.

2. For the sins of the priesthood and

3. For the sins of the people. Jesus’ blood has created the way, Hebrews 6:19.

Matthew 26:1ff tells us it was at Passover that Jesus wanted to die for them. Jesus wanted to let it happen in Passover. Jesus died on a day when a one-off event took place, Passover, the Day of Atonement was once a year, Jesus didn’t die on this day.

The veil was Jesus’ flesh, the veil was torn when He died. A careful reading of the Book of Acts tells us that the early church was called the way, they were in ‘the way’.

The blood-stained way into the very presence of God.

Two of the most remarkable statements by Jesus are found in one verse. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ ‘No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ John 14:6

These statements were made in a discussion with His disciples. As He prepared them for His impending death, John 14:1-4, prompted questions by Thomas and Philip, John 14:5 / John 14:7-9.

In making such statements, Jesus claims to be three things, ‘The Way, The Truth, And the Life.’

Let’s take a closer look, at where we first observe that Jesus is. Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus clearly claims to be the only way to God, John 14:6. As Peter would later proclaim, there is no salvation but through Him, Acts 4:12. This may sound politically incorrect, but Jesus states it nonetheless.

How is the Jesus the Way to the father? By revealing Him, stressed in the Gospel of John, John 14:7-9 / John 1:18 / John 12:44-45. By opening the way to Him, emphasised in the book of Hebrews, Hebrews 10:19-20.

By serving as our high priest, another theme in Hebrews, Hebrews 2:17-18 / Hebrews 4:14-16 / Hebrews 10:21-22. He now intercedes for us as our Advocate, 1 John 2:1.

At the right hand of God, Romans 8:34. The one (and only) Mediator between God and man, 1 Titus 2:5. Whoever lives to intercede for us! Hebrews 7:24-25. By virtue of His life on earth, His death on the cross, and now His service in heaven, Jesus is truly the only way to God! Isaiah 35:8-9.

Christ is the ‘way’, the ‘means’, the Person by whom we can come to a knowledge of God, John 1:18. How wonderful, to know that all man has to do to know the Father is to look to Jesus.

Jesus says, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father,’ John 14:9. Via Jesus the Father has fellowship with us and we with the Father, Romans 5:12 / Matthew 11:27-28.

How awful would be our situation without Jesus our Mediator! There would be an abyss so wide and deep and dark between God and mankind that man could never make any contact with God and thus man would be lost forever.

Is it difficult to come to God via Jesus? No, definitely not! Since, once we accept Jesus in our lives, he will protect us, Isaiah 27:3. Jesus teaches us the way, by speaking the truth, Luke 20:21. By showing us the way, Matthew 16:24 / 1 Peter 2:21.

All we have to do is follow Jesus, knowing that we shall never be tempted beyond our strength, 1 Corinthians 10:13, and that if we submit to God and resist the devil, James 4:7, the latter will flee from us, Isaiah 4:7.

It is via Jesus that we come into the sanctuary, the presence of God to whom Jesus is the living way, Hebrews 20:19-20.

I cannot help feeling that when Jesus said ‘I am the way’ he puts the emphasis on ‘I’ indicating he is the only way as indeed he is, Acts 4:12.

And so, Jesus declares Himself to be the way, He isn’t a guide to show the way, nor a map to help those lost upon the path. No, Jesus is ‘The Way’ He is God and so, all life is available through Him, and only in Him is the truth to those eternal questions found. He wants to answer the questions of life for all mankind, He has the ability, He has the knowledge and He has the life.

The disciples had received so much teaching, they had had the opportunity to learn all of Christ, but how often did they neglect the teaching?

They allowed points the Lord had made to pass, they could have really known Jesus but they didn’t. Now that Jesus has fully exposed Himself to them, they have the chance to fully understand and know and see the Father as well.

In knowing Jesus, they know the way to the eternal Father which means life. Jesus was the ‘Way’, ‘Hodos’, the Road, the one through whom we have access to the Father.

I AM The Truth

In his famous ‘Essay on Truth’, Roger Bacon wrote, ‘what is truth,’ the jesting Pilate asked and did not stay for an answer.’ I am not convinced that Pilate was jesting. He may have terminated the discussion and left the Praetorium because he did not believe that anyone could answer his question.

But, here is an interesting and curious fact. You will recall that the Governor, Pontius Pilate was a Roman. His native language was undoubtedly Latin, and, he may well have posed his question in Latin. If that is the case, the question he asked was.

‘QUID EST VERITAS?’ WHAT IS TRUTH?

Now here is a curious fact, you may take the same 14 letters of ‘Quid Est Veritas’ and with them form an anagram, that is, you may re-arrange those letters, and, if you do, they will give you. ‘Est Vir Qui Adest,’ which means, ‘it is the man who stands before thee!’

If only Pilate had been aware of the identity of the One who stood before him that day! If only Pilate had known! But, of course, when Jesus made that startling revelation, ‘I AM the truth’, it was not to Pilate that he spoke, but to His own disciples. And we are naturally interested to know just what he meant.

What about the word truth? Think about it because it’s an interesting word. If you consult your dictionary, you will find that it is defined as, ‘The quality or state of being true, accurate, honest, sincere.’ ‘The statement of things as they are.’

But I am not really satisfied with that definition, because all that it tells us is that according to the English word, there may be different levels of truth.

It does not take into account the fact that one may speak what he believes to be the truth and yet be honestly and sincerely in error. And this is easy to demonstrate.

For instance, if I were to tell you that, ‘I sincerely believe that, at this moment, there is a blizzard raging outside this building’, and you were to go to the door to discover that it really is snowing, I have spoken truth.

If, on the other hand, you discovered that the sun is shining and it is 100 degrees outside, not only would it be a miracle! I would have proved myself, at the very least, to be guilty of error, sincere as I may have been.

In that sense, ‘truth’ would mean, ‘The statement of things as they are’, and even an atheist would agree with that definition. And in that case, truth is something which is relative or comparative.

Now, we need a definition which is much more precise than that. We need a definition which is absolute and unconditional, and for such a definition we must turn to the word which Jesus used in the text before us.

Well, the word for ‘Truth’, which is used in the Greek New Testament is ‘Ale Theia’ and it basically means, ‘unconcealed’. It is a word which is developed from the word, ‘Lanthona’, which means ‘to be unknown, or to be hidden’.

When the Greeks wished to change the meaning of a word so that it meant the very opposite, they replaced the letter, ‘A’, ‘Alpha’, in front of it. You may take for example the word, ‘righteousness’, which is ‘Dikaiosune’. If we place the letter, ‘A’, in front of it, it becomes ‘A Dikaiosune’, which is ‘unrighteousness’.

Well, the word ‘truth’, has been formed in the same way. Place the letter ‘A’, in front of ‘Lanthano’, ‘unknown, or hidden’, and you create the word ‘Alethia’, so that it now means, ‘Unconcealed’.

Therefore, the New Testament word for ‘truth’ means, ‘that which is open and evident and exposed’, and which, is capable of withstanding any examination; any scrutiny any investigation’.

If we take it a step farther, ‘truth’, in the New Testament sense, means, ‘reality’ or the manifestation of things as they really are. Think about the phrase which we meet many times in the Bible, the phrase, ‘the only true God’.

It literally means, the only real God, because the word ‘Alethinos’ indicates the genuine as opposed to the false.

For this reason, when William Tyndale came to John 15:1-8, in which Jesus says, ‘I am the true vine’, he translated it, ‘I AM the Verri vine’.

Truth then, in the Bible sense, is reality and revealed in a person. That is why, when we say that ‘God is truth’, we mean that God is the ultimate reality, the Origin, the Creator and Sustainer of all things and that apart from Him there is no reality.

It follows, therefore, that if God is truth, His is the only Mind which knows reality perfectly, and truth is that which corresponds with His mind and will. In other words, we only possess the truth on any level and on any subject, when what we say about it is what God says about it.

If, for instance, someone were to say that the purpose of life is to have a good time and look after number one, that would only be true if it was what God said about it. Now, this is the consistent teaching of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

In Genesis 32:10, Jacob, coming out of Mesopotamia on his way back to Canaan gave thanks to God for his mercy and truth and praised God because he has dealt with him in Truth and faithfulness.

In Deuteronomy 32:4, Moses called God a ‘God of truth’, whilst in Exodus 34:6-7, when on Mount Sinai, God revealed Himself to Moses. His own description of Himself was ‘YHVH, YHVH, merciful, slow to anger, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth.’

The psalmist never ceased to sing about the ‘God of Truth’. ‘All his works are truth. His truth endures to all generations. He keeps truth for ever. His truth reaches to the heavens.’ Psalm 100:5.

Turning to the prophets, twice in one verse, Isaiah 65:16, the prophet Isaiah called God, ‘The God of truth.’

Over in the New Testament, Paul described Him as, ‘the God who cannot lie’, Titus 1:2. And in Revelation 15:3, the redeemed praise God as ‘just and true in all his ways. God, then, is Himself, ‘Truth.’

But, let us now take this a step further, and notice that the God of truth, whose Word is truth, John 17:17, in the fullness of time, is, when the right moment came, Galatians 4:4, revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, who came to us as ‘the truth incarnate’. The truth manifested in a physical body. The Word became flesh, John 1:1-2 / John 1:14.

This is why, in Revelation 3:7, Jesus Himself is described as, ‘The Holy One, the True One.’

And why, later in Revelation 3:14, the Lord Jesus describes Himself in words which cannot logically be understood in any other way than as a claim to Deity. ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.’

Jesus is actually saying, ‘I AM the Amen.’ Now, this is a statement which arrests attention immediately. You see, that word, ‘amen’, comes to us straight from the Hebrew language. It is a word which has not been translated. It is not English. It is not Greek. Even the Greeks did not translate it.

The word is also ‘Amen’ in the Greek language, and although we are in the habit of using the word as a convenient way in which to close a prayer, and have been told it means, ‘so be it’, it has a vastly more profound meaning than that.

Although the connection may not appear at first glance, there is a very close relationship between the words, ‘truth’ and ‘amen.’ The root meaning of the word, ‘amen’ is that of ‘nursing, nourishing, building up’, hence it has to do with ‘establishing, establishing, making sure.’

And, in its original use, it takes us back to God as the nursing Mother of His people. Now that is a thought to consider! The fact of the Motherhood of God. In Isaiah 66:13, God Himself said, ‘As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you’.

Now if the thought of the ‘motherhood’ of God is new and strange to you, perhaps I might throw in the additional fact, and say that one of the compound names for God, which is found in the Old Testament, is ‘El Shaddai.’ It is used no fewer than 48 times, and when you read the name, ‘God Almighty’, or ‘Almighty God’, that is the translation of ‘El Shaddai.’

But, it has long been a puzzle as to why the men who translated the Old Testament rendered ‘El Shaddai’ as ‘The Almighty God’, when Hebrew scholars have long known, that it really suggests the ‘Mother-love’ of God and the fact that God never tires of bestowing His bountiful goodness and fullness and riches on His people, as a mother bestows her tender care on her child.

And for this reason, ‘El Shaddai’ is literally, ‘El’ God, ‘Shaddai’, the Breasted One, for that is what the word ‘Shaddai’ means. And this is why besides calling God ‘the truth’, you may place this other name for God, ‘the Amen’, ‘the nourisher’, ‘the sufficient One’, the One who nurses, and nurtures His people.

And so, in Revelation 3:14, the Lord Jesus presents Himself to the church at Laodicea, a church which has been faithless and false in its witness, and He comes as, ‘The Amen, the Faithful and True witness’ The One who is true to His own nature, who will never cease to provide for His people. He is faithful ad true because He is the ‘Amen.’

As a title, ‘The Amen’, is equivalent to the title in our text, ‘The Truth’, because when Jesus says, ‘I AM the Truth’, it means that He cannot lie. He is true in all His words. He is true in all His actions. All truth lies within the compass of that word.

I think that this ought to be a source of great comfort to every child of God because it is the guarantee of the total reliability and faithfulness of everything He ever says or does. When He makes an assertion, that assertion is absolutely dependable.

When He makes a promise, you may rest all your weight on it, in the certain knowledge that it can never fail. When He warns of judgment, depend upon it, that judgment will follow as surely as night follows day. And because He is ‘Truth’, He will never make terms with a lie.

I expect that it has occurred to you by now, that, when we hear Jesus say, ‘I AM the truth’, we are, in fact, dealing with, yet another assertion of His Deity. I say, ‘yet another’ because such declarations of Deity come at us from all directions if only we have eyes to see them.

For example, the Hebrew word for ‘Truth’ is yet another name for God Himself. It is the word ‘Emet’, and it consists of the First, the Middle and the Last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Now in the first chapter of the Revelation, Revelation 1:8, we read, ‘I am the Alpha and the Onega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’ In other words, I am the First and I am the last.

I now turn to the last chapter, and in Revelation 22:12, we read, ‘Behold I am coming soon bringing my recompense to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Onega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’

And who is the speaker? He is the Lord Jesus Himself, and the last Book in the Bible, and the Bible itself, closes with this statement, ‘Surely I am coming soon. Amen. Come Lord Jesus’, Revelation 22:20.

In the light of all this evidence, it must be obvious that, because Jesus is the ‘Truth’, it is not enough simply to say that He is the greatest teacher the world has ever known, or that what He taught was true.

He does not say, ‘I know the truth’, or ‘I teach the truth’. Instead, He makes a claim for himself that no other teacher would dare to make. He says, ‘I AM the Truth’.

And any modern-day educator who dared to make such a claim would immediately be looked at as unbalanced. Indeed, no teacher of any worth would ever consider making such a claim, because it is a claim to deity.

After all, the wisest and greatest thinkers the world has ever known, have confessed themselves merely to be seekers after truth, and have admitted that truth has evaded them.

The great Socrates said that he was aware of how little he understood. Sir Isaac Newton, described himself as a child who had gathered a few pebbles, on the shore of a great ocean.

But Jesus was able to say, ‘if you continue in my word you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free’. John 8:37.

Just consider what Jesus is actually saying here! The claim is stupendous, He says that is that ‘if we abide’, ‘meno’, remain, stay, in His word, that is if we continue to be obedient to Him, we shall know the truth.

Our lives will be controlled and governed by truth, and there will follow an ever-deepening awareness of truth and an ever-increasing capacity for truth, and we shall be made free by the truth.

I come back to the same point, time and time again. I am compelled to say that I cannot imagine any teacher in history who would dare to make such a claim and expect to be treated seriously by normal, intelligent, balanced people.

But Jesus says, ‘I AM the truth’. Do you wish to know truth? ‘Then follow Me and stay with Me’, Jesus says. I think that it is tragic that today, men and women, even members of the Lord’s church, are coming under the influence of liberal theologians and their so-called new hermeneutics, teachers who appear to have little or no regard for the authority of the Word, or the Christ of the word for that matter. It is sad to find them eager to spread their old, warmed-over critical theories, among less mature members of the church.

I know one man who told a group of young Christians, ‘we cannot be sure that we have the truth, because we cannot know anything with certainty.’

Now, such a statement as that sounds very profound and wise and advanced to impressionable people. They think it is wonderful evidence of deep thinking and a beautiful demonstration of tolerance. But I do not believe I need to point out to you just how dangerous and destructive such teaching is.

If we accept the notion that we cannot be sure of anything, the gates are thrown wide-open to allow anything and everything into Christianity. ‘We cannot know. We cannot be sure that we have the truth, therefore, others may have the truth, and we don’t know it!’

This is modern agnosticism, remember that the Greek word ‘Agnostic’ identifies one who does not know and is the exact equivalent of the Latin word ‘Ignoramus’. This is the modern agnosticism which so often parades as Christian scholarship. It is the ignorance which pretends to be wisdom.

If you ever hear anyone say that we cannot be sure that we the truth, you ought to tell that person that he has a controversy with the Christ, who said, ‘I AM the truth’, and he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life. He who abides in me shall know truth and the truth will make him free’.

Oh! That members of the Lord’s church would steep themselves in the Word of Truth and the Truth Who is presented in the Word! I truly believe that the crying need of our age is for Christians who have taken hold of the Word, and who have allowed the Word to take hold of them.

Men and women who are mastered by the truth, because they have been mastered by the Master Himself. If you seek the truth, look no farther than the Word of God.

Jesus is the ‘Truth’ ‘Alethea’, the embodiment of ultimate reality, John 14:6. When Jesus speaks of truth, it describes that which corresponds to reality, what is factual and absolute, not relative but how Jesus is the truth?

He proclaims that truth is real and knowable, John 8:32. He proclaims that truth can set one free from the bondage of sin, John 8:32-34.

His doctrine is the way to the truth that frees one from sin, John 8:31-32 John 8:34-36. He faithfully proclaimed His Father’s Word, which is truth, John 17:14 / John 17:17.

By abiding in Jesus’ teachings, we can know the truth and the freedom it offers! Freedom from the bondage of sin becomes even more meaningful when we consider how Jesus is.

The very life of Jesus was a representation of the truth; he is Truth Incarnate, John 5:32-33 / John 8:46 / John 1:17.

Let us always bear in mind that there is only one Truth. The Lord God to whom we can go through Jesus Christ our Mediator Saviour and Truth.

I Am The Life

There is a very logical and natural progression in the text, for, commencing with Jesus as the Way, we find that it is the way truth which leads us to life. Jesus is the ‘Life’ ‘Zoe’, John 14:6, the source, no life apart from him, the sustainer, all life depends on Him for instruction.

Before we consider Jesus as the life, we ought to ask the question, what is Life? How should we define that word? I ask this because finding an adequate definition is not as easy as you might have imagined.

1. Don’t go to the poets, because they are no help!

John Dryden wrote, ‘When I consider life, ‘tis all a CHEAT.’ Robert burns wrote, ‘O life, thou art A GALLING LOAD, along a rough and weary road, to wretches such as I’.

2. And don’t turn to the philosophers, otherwise, you will meet up with people like Kierkegaard, who wrote, ‘MY life is absolutely meaningless’.

And Frederic Nietzsche, Adolph Hitler’s favourite Philosopher, whose theories he followed in pursuit of a ‘Master-race’, with such devastating consequences for millions of men, women and children; actually said: ‘If you look into Life you look into suffering.’

And you may be interested to know that 12 years before he died, Nietzsche, Hitler’s favourite philosopher was certified insane!

3. Don’t go to the playwrights either.

The most famous of them all. William Shakespeare wrote those oft-quoted words, which pessimistically declared, that life is, ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’

4. And if you turn to your dictionary, looking for a less emotional, more rational definition, you will still be disappointed.

What do you make of this? The oxford dictionary says that life is, ‘the State of functional activity peculiar to organized matter, especially to the portion of it constituting an animal or plant, before death’.

The simple fact is that Poets, Philosophers, the Playwrights, and you could add Scientists to the list, are all at a loss to tell us much about life. Therefore, the definition for which we are looking must come from the realm of the spiritual.

In other words, the mystery of life is a puzzle for religions to solve. And for that reason, when Jesus says ‘I AM…the life’, John 14:6, we should be ready to listen to what He has to say and to look at what He has to offer.

1. The scriptures reveal that Jesus, was always concerned with ‘life’ and willing to talk about it. All through the Gospel accounts to John, I say, more than twenty times, Jesus had something to say about life.

And, indeed, if the number of times a subject is referred to in a book says anything about its importance, I can tell you that if you care to search John’s Gospel, you will find the word ‘life’ used at least 37 times! And 37 times in 21 chapters is very impressive, by any standard.

When the Lord used that word, He was not speaking about mere physical existence, or about meeting ordinary physical needs, but about real life, life in its fullness.

He was concerned about the quality of life, concerned that we should experience the life which God intends us to enjoy. That is why he said, ‘I have come that they might have life abundant life!’ John 10:10.

The word which is here translated as ‘abundantly’ is a word which means ‘vehemently, passionately, ardently, life to the full’, ‘perissos’. And this is what the church, with its good news, is seeking to help people to understand that, to know Jesus Christ is to really live, to experience life at its richest and finest.

1. What gives Him the right to say ‘I AM …the life’?

Because, as we have already seen, and as John tells us in the very first chapter, ‘In Him was life and the life was the light of men’, John 1:4.

Jesus is able to say. ‘I AM the life’ because He possesses independent and self-sustained life. And by that, I mean that Jesus has life in Himself because that is what means when He says, ‘in him was life’, John 1:4.

In Acts 17, When Paul spoke to the distinguished members of the Areopagus, the council of wise men of Athens, he spoke to them about the One true God, Acts 17:26-28.

The point which Paul was making, in view of all the pagan altars and Temples he had seen as he walked through the Agora, the Market-placer, was that the One True God, unlike the gods which they worshipped, did not need to be maintained and looked after and kept in good repair.

Paul says He, the True God ‘is not served by men’s hands,’ Acts 17:25. And why not? ‘Because He made the world and everything in it,’ Acts 17:24.

This means that whilst God is dependent on no one, our life, yours and mine, are entirely dependent on Him. But, in contrast, Jesus was able to state, ‘As the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in Himself,’ John 6:26.

What do you make of that claim? Is it not staggering? The only thing you can reasonably make of it is that the Lord Jesus claimed to share the nature of Deity, and, consequently, He possessed the attributes of Deity. And it is this fact, that throws light on that statement in John 1:4.

2. Further Jesus was able to ‘I AM…the life’, because His is an indestructible life, everlasting life.

We are not indestructible! I hardly need to remind you that there are many agencies or forces at work, which are capable of bringing our physical life to an end. We could meet with violence in an increasingly violent society.

We could contract some ailment or disease which brings us to a premature death. And, even if we do not meet a premature end, and are allowed to enjoy a relatively untroubled life and live our allotted span, it comes to virtually the same thing, we shall still die.

As Shakespeare quaintly expressed it, ‘Golden lads and girls all must, like chimney-sweepers, come to dust!’ But nothing could touch the life of the Lord Jesus! Violence?

When the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate said, ‘Don’t you know that I have the power to release you or the power to condemn you?’ And Jesus said, ‘You could have no power over me at all unless it were given you from above’, John 19:10-11.

DEATH ITSELF!

Death is the consequence of sin, it is the legacy which sin has left the whole human race, Romans 5:12. But Jesus was sinless. He could throw out the challenge, which of you convicts me of sin? John 8:46.

This means that death had no claim on Him. He was not subject to death, as we are and He did not have to die! John 10:18. And in all of human history, no one has ever dared to make such a claim!

Even when the leader of some out-outlandish cult has claimed immortality for himself, and persuaded his deluded, brainwashed followers that he could not die. Time has rolled on and proved him to be a fraud. But not Jesus!

In other words, He is the Creator and Sustainer of all life, John 1:1-3 / Colossians 2:15 / Hebrews 1:2. And that is why He can say, ‘I AM……the life.’

3. He is the life, because, as the Word who existed in the beginning with God, He has independent and self-sustained life, John 5:26-29.

He is the life because His life is everlasting and indestructible. After surrendering, sacrificing, His life in order to ‘pay the price of sin’, He took it up again, because it was not possible for death to hold him, and He ever lives in the power of His resurrection, Revelation 1:17.

He is the life because as the author of life, He is able to give life to those who follow Him. In John 6:21 He makes yet another astounding claim. ‘As the Father raises the dead and gives them rife, so also the Son gives life to whom He will’.

This, then, is the Saviour whom we celebrate and serve today. The one who comes to our restless world, and says to men and women who find that their lives are unfulfilled and unsatisfying, John 4:14.

So, what is this life which is to be found in Jesus Christ and which Christians claim to experience? Do you want to know if it is possible? Does it exist? You may be sure of this, People certainly want it to exist! Because one thing is certain, we all long for life. And that is a fact!

The famous Poet John Keats, expressed this very powerfully when he wrote to his beloved Fanny Brawne. ‘I long to believe in immortality. If I am destined only to be happy with you here, how short is the longest life! I wish to believe in immortality. I wish to live with you for ever.’

Keats could not believe that we can form friendships and love people, only to have those affections ended at death. Hence, his longing for immortality.

And do you remember the Rich Young Ruler’s question? It is not surprising, therefore, that whenever Jesus spoke about life, people listened! There was an instant response because they wanted to hear about life.

Are we any different today? You know we are not! We are always ready to listen to anyone who is able to tell us something that will improve the quality of our lives. This is what makes millions for the advertisers on your T.V. and in your newspapers and magazines.

Do you think our fellow men ever feel tired of life the way it is? Do they feel the constant anxiety, worry and strain of modern living? Do they ever grow weary of the incessant demands that are made upon them? In fact, let’s make that personal!

Do you ever wonder, when you are feeling low, what it all means and what purpose there is to it, and if it is really worthwhile? Well, that is the problem which Jesus offers to solve!

The burden He is prepared to ease! So, let’s ask the question, when Jesus says, ‘I AM the Life’, and promises that ‘He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life’.

Just what is it that He offers? How can we best describe the kind of life that you, if at this moment, you are not a follower of Jesus, may begin to experience if you let Him into your heart?

Well, the New Testament describes life under several different metaphors. For instance, in John 8:12, Jesus promises that if we follow him, we ‘shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’

1. In John 8:12, life if likened to light, the light of life.

And, for that reason, followers of Jesus are described as ‘the children of light,’ 1 Peter 2:10. Notice the mention of darkness and light. And the contrast. Jesus offers light.

2. Liberty.

He also offers the liberty of Life, Isaiah 61:1-2. Notice the statement ‘To proclaim liberty to the captives’, because when we come over to the New Testament, we discover that, in Luke 4:16, Jesus takes this prophecy and applies it to His own ministry.

Read Luke 4 and you see that he had just emerged from the wilderness of Judea and had gone to the river Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptizer. Then he had launched out on his own ministry.

Back home, in Nazareth, away to the north, the people had heard about this and all kinds of stories were finding their way back to them, about the things which Jesus was doing and saying.

It is not surprising therefore that, when He eventually returned to his home village, his arrival created something of a sensation. So much so that, when the Sabbath day came around, since they knew that he regularly attended the synagogue on that day, the synagogue in Nazareth was filled with curious and excited people.

The villagers of Nazareth were wondering why he was doing what he was doing, why he had not come home to carry on his normal life, like other young men who had gone out to John at the river There is no doubt that they expected him to explain himself, and perhaps see him do some wonderful thing.

So, when He stood up, indicating his willingness to read the scriptural appointed for the day, their excitement knew no bounds. The official in charge of the sacred scrolls handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and when Jesus had found the place he began to read this very scripture. This is how He explained his conduct.

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… He has sent me…..to proclaim liberty to the captives.’ ‘He has sent me to set people free.’’ And in John 8:36 he makes this claim, ‘If the Son makes you free, you are truly free’. And so, Jesus, the way, brings us to light and to liberty.

3. Light, liberty and then life, the strongest metaphor of all, John 11:25.

I want you to think, very briefly about these three metaphors, these descriptions of the Christian life.

1. Think about coming to Christ as coming to the light of Life, Isaiah 61:1.

Have you ever experienced real darkness? Oh! I am not talking about being out at night when the moon and the stars are obscured by clouds. I mean real darkness, the kind of darkness that you can almost feel!

The coal miner knows what I am talking about! I too have been down a coal mine, over 1000 yards deep, I know what it is like to have the lights turned out! I give you my solemn word that it is an eerie and unpleasant sensation.

Or, let me ask you to use your imagination. Imagine that it is night-time, in some tropical country, and you are alone in the heart of the jungle. You are in fact, lost. There is no moon, and no stars because no light is able to penetrate the dense canopy of the forest.

The dense tropical growth and the massive trees tower above you, blotting out the sky. And so you stumble along, and the undergrowth trips you up.

The branches of the bushes whip across your face and the thorns tear at your clothing and bite into your flesh as you stagger on through the darkness. Panic fills your mind. You experience an overwhelming sense of being closed in by the darkness.

And then, as dawn breaks and the first glimmer of light filters through the trees, you find a tree which you manage to climb, in order to try to get your bearings. Out there, to your right, you catch sight of a distant mountain range. And to your left, the morning light is glinting on the ocean.

You learn the general lie of the land and so, as the morning unfolds, you begin to move with greater certainty because you now know the direction you need to take.

Of course, you have not reached the end of your journey, but you are at the end of your wandering. The way ahead of you may still be long but you have the peace of mind which comes from knowing that you are on the right course.

And why is this? Because light has broken, the dawn has come Darkness has given way to light, and you have found the way home.

Now, becoming a Christian is something like that. Getting to Jesus is like that. It means that light has entered and driven out the darkness of your life, the confusion the uncertainty, and you are on your way home, walking in the way.

2. Then, think about that second metaphor, liberty, Isaiah 61:1.

The New Testament teaches that, because Jesus is the life, coming to know Him as your Saviour is like passing from slavery to liberty. ‘He breaks the power of cancelled sin; He sets the prisoner free,’ Isaiah 61:1. The old hymn says, ‘Have you ever been in a prison, No! I am not asking if you have ever been to prison, as an inmate.’

Have you ever visited a prison? You don’t have to be a prisoner to appreciate what a miserable existence prison is, for most of those confined there. I assure you that when I visited a prison for the first time I found it to be probably the most depressing, claustrophobic experience I had ever known.

The oppressiveness of the atmosphere inside a prison is something which, once experienced, is never forgotten, no matter how many times one may visit. The first thing you notice has to be the constant clanging of steel doors and the rattle of keys.

The warder walks by your side. The steel door ahead of you is unlocked, and locked behind you. Somewhere else in the building, another door slams and echoes through the hollow-sounding building.

The door ahead of you is not unlocked until the one behind you has been secured and so you are always enclosed between locked doors, always shut in; and thus, it continues until you eventually reach the cell of the poor soul you are visiting.

Can you imagine what it must be like for a man to be taken to such a place as a prisoner, and to have the cell door locked behind him?

That is how the Bible describes the condition of men and women who are not yet reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus. They are prisoners. Prisoners of sin. Sin is slavery. Sin is bondage, sin is captivity, sin is imprisonment.

But Oh! The Joy when the cell door is thrown open and the prisoner is led to the massive outer gate, and it is unlocked for him, and he finds himself outside! Imagine what it is like for one who has served a long sentence to stand outside the prison knowing that he is a Free Man! Life! Liberty!

3. And then there is what I have described as the strongest metaphor of all, life!

Because Jesus says ‘I AM the life’, John 14:6, we may have new life in Him, and becoming a Christian is a passing from death to life.

Some years ago, a group of archaeologists were at work in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt, where so many marvellous discoveries have been made.

The tragedy is that when many of them were found and opened, they were already empty because they had been plundered by grave robbers, probably centuries earlier, and many of the bodies of the Kings of Egypt had been removed.

But on the occasion about which I am speaking the archaeologists discovered a tomb which had remained untouched for about 3000 years, and inside they discovered a beautiful little coffin, the coffin of a child. Over the coffin, they found an inscription which read, ‘Oh! My life! My love! My little one! Would God that I had died for thee!’

The archaeologists were so moved by this inscription that they removed their hats and stood bareheaded. And then they softly withdrew from the cool and darkness of the tomb, into the blinding heat and sunlight of the Valley of the Kings and they sealed up the tomb again and quietly went away.

What they felt, we may feel, when we read John 11, which records the story of the death and burial of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, and dear friend of Jesus. Jesus comes to the tomb, the entrance to which has been sealed by a huge stone. And He weeps! But, then, he commands them to roll away the stone, and he calls out the name of the dead man, ‘Lazarus! Come forth!’

Or, as he would really say it in the Aramaic of that time, ‘Lazarus! Here! Out’. And Lazarus rose from the dead and came out of the Tomb.

What must it have been like to have been there that day, when Jesus commanded death to yield to life, and to have seen the joy that lit up the faces of Martha and Mary and the looks of startled amazement on the faces of those who stood by!

There is something even more marvellous even than that and it is the glorious fact, that, when we come to know Jesus as Saviour it is nothing less than a passing from death to life.

So, there we have just three metaphors, light, liberty and life. This is what it means to find that Jesus is the life. I do not think that I overstate the situation when I say that out there is a world of darkness, of lost men and women.

Wherever you care to look today, at home or abroad, you see a world which has lost its way and if Jesus were present right now, I am sure that he would describe our world in the very terms used so long ago, ‘helpless and harassed, like sheep without a shepherd,’ Matthew 9:36.

Speaking of shepherds, is there one world leader who makes you feel absolutely confident that he knows where he is going? The day I prepared these notes, the ‘Daily Telegraph’ published the result of a nationwide survey; i.e., conducted throughout the British Isles, seeking the public’s view of Mr Major our prime minister.

Of those interviewed, 77% said that he is not effective. 84% said that he is unable to unite the nation. 85% said that he is not really in charge.

And I suggest that he is not the only national leader of whom such things might be said. None of them is able to lead the way to the right.

Take that word ‘prison’. I am not thinking about the places in which our law-breakers are confined. There is another kind of imprisonment, and they are chains that cannot be seen.

There are vast numbers of our fellow men who are the prisoners of life and soul-destroying habits. Addicted to drugs, alcohol, and gambling and who are held in the grip of all kinds of fear. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it but the Bible says that we are all the slaves of sin until we are set free by Jesus Christ.

Take the word ‘death’. I know that there are people who cringe at the very mention of that word. They don’t care to talk about it and if there is anyone who feels that way, I am sorry, because I have to speak about it. And if it disturbs you, perhaps some good will come from it, if it causes you to face up to something which is vitally important.

I believe in life after death. But you need to know that when Jesus promised eternal life to those who follow him, He was thinking of more than that a life in heaven when you die.

I’ve heard people say, ‘they don’t want pie in the sky when they die, they want pie now’. The inference is that Christianity offers them pie in the sky and people can get it for them now!

But that is as far from the truth as one can get! The poor souls who are deceived by atheistic, political philosophy don’t get pie in the sky when they die, and they don’t even get it now!

It is the Christian who has the blessings of both worlds, because when Jesus said ‘I have come that they might have life,’ John 10:10. He was talking about this life and the life to come! On the other hand, there are men and women walking our streets at this moment who are already dead.

That is how Paul described them. ‘Without God and without hope in the world’, Ephesians 2:12, and he spoke of certain people who, looking for pleasure and fulfilment in all sorts of ways, are ‘dead whilst they still live’, 1 Timothy 5:6.

The life which Jesus offers us is not just life after death and that is comforting enough, to be sure. It is life now! You do not have to wait until this life draws to a close before you begin to experience eternal life, the life of the ages, Jesus wants us to live today. Now! This very moment!

Now you may think that am overdramatizing it when I say that outside of Christ, the world is dead. And I know that there are many who are not Christians who seem to be nice people. Jesus Himself tells about one such person in the story of the Prodigal Son, in Luke 15.

You all know the story, and, I have to tell you, that in my opinion, and I admit I may be wrong about this of the two sons, the younger one was the more likeable fellow! A much more attractive person than his selfish, stay-at-home elder brother!

That young fellow was probably the sort who would not do anyone a bad turn, and if you had been able to get to know him, you may well have found yourself liking him, for all his obvious faults.

But wait a minute! That is not the whole story! Even if he was an appealing rascal, Jesus, who is telling the story, says that he was dead! He was lost! Luke 15:24.

Those are the very words which the Lord puts into the mouth of the boy’s father. Now, when the young man left home, he did it because he thought he was going to live!

For the first time, out from under the shadow of his father. He was going to enjoy freedom, liberty! And you know what happened to him in the far country, you know the depths to which he sank and the privation to which he was reduced, Luke 15:14-16.

And you know also, that he eventually came to himself, Luke 15:17, which literally means that he regained his sanity, and he made up his mind to come home, hungry, ragged and dirty, and very much ashamed of himself. To say nothing of feeling sorry for himself.

But when he reached home, do you recall all what the father said? ‘This my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found, ‘ Luke 15:32.

Now that is what Jesus is able to do. He is able to give life because He Himself is the life. Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus is able to give you life? To set you free so that you may enjoy life? To enlighten your way, and show you life at its very best beginning here and now?

Maybe someone will say, ‘well, if you had told me that 30 years ago, it would have been different, but I am too old to change now!’

I heard that not very long ago! Let me remind you of three of the favourite words of Jesus. They are the words least, last and lost. The least shall be the greatest in the Kingdom, of God, Matthew 5:19-20. The last shall be first, Matthew 20:16. The lost may be found, Luke 15.

If these things are not true, the New Testament is a lie and Jesus is a deceiver. If it is not true that men and women can change, and be changed, regardless of their age, and whatever their past history of failure and frustration.

I say if that is not true, then Christianity is a sham, and I, personally have wasted many years of my life on a fantasy. But I know that what I am telling you is no myth, no fantasy, because I have seen the change that Jesus can make in men’s lives.

Throughout the world when prodigals have returned, men and women, they have received the ring, the robe and the shoes of life and liberty and service.

And know that there are many alive today who are able to look back on their lives and see the changes that coming to Christ has made. He changes people! He changes lives.

I know that is true because I know what Jesus has done for me and what He continues to do for me. He has not finished yet, but we are getting there!

And if you will commit your life to Him, you will discover what He can do. In some cases the change is gradual and in others, it comes quickly and in a few it is instantaneous.

But, surely and certainly, once you make a commitment of yourself to Jesus, the way, the truth and the life, you find that He lifts from darkness to light. From the slavery of sin to the liberty of the children of God. From death to Life that is eternal.

And the greatest change is yet to come! Some of us are aware of getting older. Eyes are beginning to fail; Hearing is not as acute as it used to be. Joints are stiffening. We are feeling more aches and pains.

What is it, rheumatism? Arthritis? Faces are beginning to show the lines! But don’t worry! You are going to be changed! Philippians 3:21 / 1 John 3:2-3. In a moment! No! Quicker even than that! In the twinkling of an eye! 1 Corinthians 15:52.

John sets the tone of his entire Gospel for us as early as John 1:4. In His prayer in , Jesus reveals his own definition of life, John 17:3. This theme continues right through the Gospel, we find that there are, no fewer than 15 chapters in the Gospel according to John that, either in word or deed, connect Jesus with life. And then, in the penultimate passage in John 20:30-31, we find that definitive statement.

During His brief ministry, he travelled through Judea and Galilee. Just as when He met that woman by the well in Samaria John 4:1-42.

Jesus saw the unhappiness and tension in the strained and care-worn faces of the crowds who came to listen to him. He was deeply moved, Matthew 9:35-38. The word ‘compassion’ reveals that He was filled with emotion.

From that point, onwards we hear Him saying. ‘I have come that they have life and have it more abundantly.’ John 10:10, ‘I am the bread of life, feed on me and you will never hunger,’ John 6:35.

‘I am the water of life, drink of me; and you will never thirst,’ John 4:14. ‘I am the resurrection and the life, believe in Me and you will never die!’ John 11:25-26.

‘He that hath the Son hath life he that obeys not the son shall not see life,’ John 3:36. ‘I am the good shepherd; and I give to my sheep who follow Me eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,’ John 10:27-28 / Isaiah 38:16.

Christ is indeed the manifestation of the life that was with the Father, 1 John 1:1-2. He is just like the Father the source of life, John 5:25-26. When those who are dead in sin hear i.e. heed the voice of Jesus they ‘will love’ i.e. find salvation, eternal life, John 10:28 / John 3:16 / John 1:4.

For the man born blind Jesus was his physical light, John 9:25, but also for us the spiritual life, John 9:33. He eventually comes to recognise the whole truth about Jesus and worships Him,’ John 9:38.

Jesus is the one who has come down from heaven to give life to the world, John 6:33 / John 10:10. The words were spoken by Peter, John 6:68-69, also on behalf of the other disciples and this should include us are indeed appropriate to Jesus.

‘Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:8-14

Jesus talks with Philip and Philip has been accused by some commentators of being very slow to reach spiritual maturity. He failed the test when the 5,000 were fed, and had sought assistance from Andrew when the Greeks asked to interview Jesus, John 6:5-7 and John 12:21-22 respectively.

However, I’m quite sure that all the disciples would have asked the same question if they had thought of it, he shows very little understanding of what Jesus had just said.

When Philip asked, ‘Lord show us the Father’, John 14:8, Jesus declares the complete unity and relationship with the Father in the following verses.

Philip ought to have known that by seeing the Son he had seen the Father, John 14:9-10, but he still needs further explanation of the point, he may even want to see a Theophany, a manifestation of deity. A visible form of God not truly understanding that that was indeed what Jesus was, Exodus 33:17-33 / Exodus 24:9-11.

Despite being with Jesus and hearing Him teach for nearly three years, the apostles did know really know Jesus, who was deity incarnate, Colossians 2:9 / Colossians 1:19. All of God in Christ, He is deity incarnate, 2 Corinthians 4:4 / Colossians 1:15. The ikon, image of God.

Jesus again explains the point, He seems disappointed that Philip didn’t understand after the previous explanation. He stresses the closeness of the relationship between Himself and the Father, John 14:9-10.

The mystery of Deity, everything as to character and nature, essential Deity is resident in Jesus. Deity which a man cannot see has been made possible by Jesus limiting himself, as the Son not the Father. As Deity, He and the Father are one, glorify Me with the glory I had, not an angel but Deity. Father and Son are accommodative terms to help us understand God.

Jesus cannot help what He is, in Him Deity dwells naturally, Colossians 2:9. We have Deity put in us, we are true ikons, we are His representatives, Romans 8:9-11 / 1 Corinthians 3:16 / Galatians 4:6 / Ephesians 3:16.

Notice the word, ‘seen’, John 14:9, this means perfect harmony, mirror image, see face to face. Delving into John’s Gospel is like using a bottomless well with a bucket the more you bring out still there is more down there.

In John 14:10 Jesus stresses the words He speaks, are the Fathers and He stresses that the two are one. Even the words Jesus speaks aren’t His but the Fathers, the work is the Fathers, and the life is the Fathers. He claims by His deeds to be God, His people hear His voice and obey Him, John 10:6-17.

If you don’t believe that Jesus is God, you don’t hear and obey Him. When Jesus had claimed this earlier the Jews had tried to stone Him, John 10:30-39.

All of Jesus is common with the Father, the miracles are proof of this, if Jesus weren’t from God He couldn’t come up with these impressive miracles, so He is from God. Coming from the Father, He must be totally honest, and He says the two are one, so we all can believe this fact, John 14:10-11.

Jesus doesn’t ask for blind faith, because He has proved His trustworthiness and His power through His resurrection, Romans 6:4. Believe because of the ‘works’, ‘erga’, ‘ergon’. What to man is a miracle is to Jesus’ normal activity, He never looks amazed when He does something, it’s part of Him. He who made everything and sustains everything is our brother, Hebrews 1:3.

Again, in John 14:12 we find the words, ‘very Truly’ and this is important, this isn’t a promise to all believers. Jesus was speaking to the twelve who were to have special miraculous powers. Later they were able to do the works that He was able to do, Acts 2:43 / Acts 3:1-10.

The term, ‘greater things’, John 14:12, isn’t in type but quantity. Jesus raised Lazarus, John 11:38-44, but He will die again. We who proclaim the Gospel bring people to life forever through the Gospel, resurrected to eternal life, Romans 6:3-5.

Jesus discusses the power of the believers, the great things they are to do needn’t be limited to miracles. If that were the case, the lack of these miracles today would infer that no Christians were around.

The believers who came after Jesus would have a far greater scope than Jesus did. He came to the Jews of Judea and Galilee, spending very little time in surrounding areas. The apostles and others have travelled all over the world teaching as they go, Luke 24:47 / Acts 1:8 / Acts 8:1.

These things are greater than Jesus’ with all else being equal, this promise cannot be for all believers. We again would find no believers if this was a sign of believers, the promise was made to the apostles for the work they were about to launch.

Jesus says in John 14:13-14 ‘ask anything in my name.’ They were to recognise the authority of Jesus, we can approach God not with demands but by recognising our dependence and relationship with Christ.

When we pray for the sick, we don’t demand that they be returned to good health but under the permissive will of God we accept His decision, 1 John 5:14-15.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day, you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them’.” John 14:15-21

In John 14:15, we find the fundamentals of Christian living, we have given ourselves to Christ, no longer do we seek for ourselves, all for Him.

We need to seek out the will of God and put that straight into practice, rejecting the ideas and opinions of man that are in contradiction to the Word. Genuine love for Jesus must lead to willing obedience to His commands, the love of God demands obedience, John 14:15.

The Greek for ‘another Counsellor’, John 14:16, is ‘allon Paraklator’ and is derived from ‘allos Parakletos’. The words refer specifically to another, ‘allon’, councillor, advocate, comforter or helper, with councillor being the favourite modern choice, is translated from ‘Paraklator’.

The inference is that we will get another of the same sort as Jesus, we know that this was referring to the coming of the same sort as Jesus. We know that this was referring to the coming Holy Spirit, so we can safely gather that Jesus and the Spirit are the same, we have the Spirit of Jesus with us now.

The words, ‘Spirit of truth’, John 14:17, tells us He is a divine source who speaks through the apostles. The context indicates that this refers to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, ‘He dwells with you and will be in you’ John 14:17. But the principle holds good in other ways, Jesus’ resurrection guarantees present spiritual life and future glory to every believer, 1 Peter 1:3-4.

Jesus continues in John 14:18, saying that He will not leave us alone as we will have this councillor, but not Jesus in the flesh. The words, ‘I will not leave you as orphans’, John 14:18, ‘orphanous’, forlorn, fatherless, orphans, is the same word in James 1:27. They wouldn’t be left as orphans, but He would come to them in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The words, ‘before long’, John 14:19, means soon He would die and the world would see Him no more but they would see Him in resurrection appearances, Acts 1:3. Notice He says, ‘because I live, ‘present tense’ you will live also, ‘future tense’, John 14:19.

In John 14:20, we find the words, ‘on that day,’ which means in the new dispensation, beginning with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples will recognise and joyfully acknowledge the closeness of the relationship between the father and the Son. They will then also understand that this union is in turn the pattern for the relationship between Christ and His followers.

There’s a great spirit of unity between God the Father, the Son and the Spirit which is developed, in the words, ‘You are in me as I am in you,’ John 14:20.

Love of the Father is proven by obedience to the Son and will result in love and a relationship being returned, John 14:21 / Exodus 33:13 / Exodus 33:18.

‘Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.’ John 14:22-31

Jesus now talks with Judas, John 14:21. This is obviously not Judas Iscariot, who had previously left the group, going into the night, John 13:30. John here refers to Judas son of James, Luke 6:16 / Acts 1:13.

In both Matthew 10:3 and Mark 10:18, he is referred to as Thaddaeus, while Luke and John as well as Luke’s account of the activity of the early church referred to him as Judas, Thaddaeus was his Surname.

In John 14:22 we find a very good question, one which could have serious implications for us if Judas’ understanding had been correct. It seems as if Judas wants Jesus to perform some act, so great that all would see it.

Obviously, He has performed many miracles greater than the world had ever seen before and still some people would not believe Him, so even exposing Himself physically to the world had not helped.

He continues to expose himself spiritually each day through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Even after Jesus’ resurrection the apostles still clung to a materialistic view of His kingdom, Acts 1:6.

Perhaps Judas thought of Jesus revealing Himself by some great miracle. A a popular view was that the Messiah would suddenly drop from the sky!

Now it seems that the Lord has changed His plan, He is the Messiah, and He surely wants everybody to believe in Him. The point of His manifestation would be to prove that He is what He claims to be but now He talks about revealing Himself only to the apostles.

It seems almost as if Jesus doesn’t answer the question that Judas asks, but carries on in a very similar vein as He previously was, but on closer inspection, it can be seen that these two verses make up the answer.

He assures Judas that the Father will make a dwelling within each believer’s heart, John 14:23. In that way, God will be revealed in each person accepting the truth.

A very close relationship is indicated, and a good knowledge of one for the other is hinted at. That relationship is available to all, and all can get a knowledge of the potential relationship by lifting up God’s word and reading it.

The way Jesus will manifest, disclose, reveal, Himself to the apostles is entirely spiritual. It will be a manifestation to the one who ‘loves’, John 14:24, which means, keeps on loving Jesus and who consequently will, ‘keep’ His word.

With him, both Father and Son will, in the person of the Spirit make their ‘home’, Romans 8:9, ‘monen,’ which is the same word used in John 14:2. As God dwelt with His people in the tabernacle, Exodus 25:8, Deity dwells with the obedient disciple, 1 Corinthians 3:16.

Please note that John 14:25-31 is promised for the apostles only not for us today. In John 14:25-26 we see a specific promise to the apostles, not to all the disciples. All necessary for the citizens of the kingdom, all power in heaven and earth, Matthew 28:19-20.

The Holy Spirit will teach the apostles all things and will remind the apostles of everything Jesus has said to them, John 14:26. Many people today claim these gifts yet, are all supposed to be guided by the Spirit. Why different, if the inspirational ability was here today then all would be the same?

The word, ‘peace’, John 14:27, means a right relationship with God, an inward serenity that is the result of reconciliation to God, as opposed to disquiet, upset, apprehensive. The word, ‘leave’, John 14:27, is a word used for a legacy. His peace is not as the world gives gives’.

The apostles weren’t to be afraid or troubled, John 14:1 / John 14:27. The word ‘afraid’ is a word used medically to describe palpitations of the heart. Jesus is saying, ‘Peace is My parting gift to you, My own peace, such as the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest and banish your fears.’

He had told them often that He must go away and return, John 14:2-3 / John 14:12 / John 14:18-19 / John 14:21 / John 14:23. This should have made them rejoice, but it didn’t because their thoughts were on themselves, not on Him, John 14:28. Jesus says, ‘The Father is greater than I’, John 14:28.

If Jesus Was God, Why Did He Say, ‘The Father Is Greater Than Him’?

Many Christians acknowledge that Jesus is God, but wrestle with the question, if Jesus was God, why did He say, ‘the Father is greater than Him’?

This question isn’t a new question, but it’s a question which is often thrown at Christians by other religious groups in an attempt to disprove the deity of Christ.

Many people make the mistake of forgetting that Jesus was also human. Throughout His life, we see glimpses of both natures. Because He was human, He got thirsty, John 19:28, but because He was God’s Son, He could turn water into wine, John 2:1-13.

Because He was human, He got hungry, Mark 11:12, but because He was God’s Son, He could feed 5,000 hungry people, Mark 6:30-44. Because He was human, He became weary, John 4:6, but because He was God’s Son, He was raised from the dead, Matthew 28:1-15.

Jesus was fully God but also fully man, John 1:1-3 / John 1:14. When He came to earth as man, He voluntarily chose to restrict some of His divine attributes, Philippians 2:6-8.

Paul tells us that Jesus ‘emptied Himself and He humbled Himself.’ He emptied Himself so that He could serve, ‘He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.’

When the Bible says, ‘that he emptied himself’, it doesn’t mean He became less than God, when He was on earth, it means He became more than God, in the sense that He was God, but now He was also a man.

He didn’t get rid of deity, He emptied deity into humanity. He could never stop being God because God is His nature. This is something the Jews certainly did understand, John 8:58-59 / John 18:4-8.

We must also remember that He voluntarily ‘humbled Himself’, Philippians 2:8, in other words, Jesus lived a life which was in complete submission to the Father, and so set us the supreme example of what sacrifice is all about.

When we read of Jesus doing things that only God can do, and knowing things that only God can know, it’s because, at those moments, the Father was telling Him what to say, and showing Him what to do.

He submitted to the Father but still remained One with the Father, Matthew 26:39 / Matthew 26:42 / John 5:30 / John 6:38 / John 8:28-29 / John 10:30 / John 12:49 / John 14:28 / John 14:31.

So, what did Jesus mean, when He said, ‘The Father is greater than I’? He’s saying that His Father was greater in the sense that His Father was in Heaven, while Jesus was made a little lower than the angels while He was in the flesh, Hebrews 1:5 / Hebrews 2:9.

His Father was greater in the sense that Jesus became man, John 1:1-3 / John 1:14, and humbled Himself when He became a man, Philippians 2:8. His Father was greater in the sense that His Father was responsible for making decisions, while Jesus submitted to His Father’s will, Philippians 2:7-8 / Hebrews 2:9 / Hebrews 2:14.

We must remember that when Jesus was a man, He still had authority. Jesus spoke as one with authority, Matthew 7:29, and had the authority to forgive sins, Matthew 9:6.

A Roman centurion displayed his great faith by rightly believing in Jesus’ authority to command at a great distance for his servant to be healed, Matthew 8:5-13.

The wind and the waves obeyed Jesus’ commands, Matthew 8:27, which was actually a sign of His deity. The demons feared His authority as the Son of God, Matthew 8:29. Jesus even affirmed in several places that He was the one to whom all would answer as judge on the last day, John 5:22 / Acts 10:42 / Acts 17:31.

The Scriptures teach that Christ was given all authority in heaven and earth after His resurrection, Matthew 28:19-20. The Scripture also teach that one day, when Christ returns, He will surrender His authoritative role to the Father, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

We must note, however, that His surrendering of the kingdom authority doesn’t mean He forfeits His deity or His divine glory, John 17:4-5. He will still be our brother, Romans 8:17 / Hebrews 2:9-12, and we will still reign with Him, Revelation 3:21 / Revelation 22:5. He will still be God our Lord and our Saviour, John 20:28 / Titus 2:13.

Maybe a couple of illustrations will help answer the question.

The Bible teaches that a husband is greater in position and authority than his wife, Genesis 3:16 / Ephesians 5:23 / 1 Peter 3:5-6, but the husband is no different in nature and no better than his wife, Genesis 1:27 / Genesis 2:24 / Ephesians 2:10 / Galatians 3:28. They share the same nature, that is, they are both human beings, and they work together by love.

The Prime Minister has a greater position than I do and greater responsibility than I do and has greater authority than I do, Matthew 22:21 / 1 Peter 2:13 / Romans 13:1-7, but he is no different in nature than I am, he is no better than I am, Isaiah 53:6 / Romans 3:23. We share the same nature, that is, we’re both human.

In the same manner, the Father had greater position and greater authority than Jesus, while Jesus was a man, but the Father is no different in nature than Jesus, He was no better than Jesus.

They share the same nature, that is, they are both deity. God the Father was greater in authority, responsibility, and position, but not in nature. Jesus was still deity but human too.

When Jesus said, ‘The Father is greater than I’, He was not denying that He was God, He was simply acknowledging the fact that He was also a man. Jesus is both God and man, He’s the Godman.

As a man, He was in a lesser position than the Father. He was subject to the laws of God so that He might redeem those who were under law, Galatians 4:4-5. He had added to Himself humanity, Colossians 2:9 and He became a man to die for people, John 3:16 / 1 Timothy 1:15.

Some people will go to any length and grasp any straw to try and prove that Christ wasn’t God. The words ‘The Father is greater than I’ are used to support false doctrine, e.g. that Jesus wasn’t deity.

This interpretation would flatly contradict the teaching of John’s Gospel, John 1:1-2 / John 1:14. It also contradicts Jesus’ own assertions, John 8:59 / John 10:30.

It likewise contradicts other New Testament teaching, Colossians 2:9 / Colossians 1:19 / Titus 2:13. In His humanity Jesus accepted limitations and was subject to His Father, John 14:29 / John 13:19 / John 16:4 / John 2:22.

Jesus tells them that He was going but would return before hand, so that when it does happen the disciples will believe, John 14:29. In John 14:30-31 we see the phrase, the ‘ruler ‘archon’ of this world ‘kosmos’’, Satan.

Jesus knew that Judas, soldiers and members of the Sanhedrin were coming to arrest Him, Matthew 26:47-56 / Mark 14:43-52 / Luke 22:47-23:56 / John 18:1-14, but He says that ‘the evil genius of this world is coming,’ John 14:30. Judas and the mob were agents of Satan.

Jesus says, ‘he has no power over Me’ or ‘nothing in common with Me’ or ‘no hold on Me’, ‘no claim on Me’, John 14:30. Satan has a legitimate claim on every sinner, for ‘the wages of sin is death’, Romans 6:23.

But Jesus was sinless, 1 Peter 2:22-24, so His death couldn’t be demanded by the evil one. Jesus died voluntarily, John 10:17-18. He says, Satan will come so that the world will learn that Jesus loves the Father and He does as the Father commanded Him, John 14:31, He went forth willingly to die.

Notice the words, ‘come now; let us leave,’ John 14:31. Some argue at length that this doesn’t necessarily indicate that Jesus and the apostles did immediately leave. They suggest that He remained in the Upper Room and spoke all that is recorded in John 15-17, then He left. John 18:1 records their actual leaving.

If the words, ‘come now; let us leave,’ was immediately followed by their departure, it is possible that they went first to the temple. The words spoken in John 15:1-11 were spoken as they went there, or on arrival, and that the rest of John 15, also John 16 were spoken as they walked out of the city and toward Gethsemane.

The great prayer of John 17 may have been offered on the slopes of the Mount of Olives immediately before they crossed the Kidron valley and entered the Garden of Gethsemane.

Go To John 15

 
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