“The Conversationalist” Sermon Series
When Jesus Speaks Through Parables
“I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”
Chapter 14 comes right after the Last Supper. Jesus has told the disciples that He is going away, “To men who have left everything for their Leader to be told that He is about to leave them is shattering.” Jesus is leaving, and they can’t go with him. Peter has been told that he will deny Christ three times, John has been told that Judas has betrayed Jesus. All of the disciples are struggling with different things. It won’t be long before Judas shows up with torches and soldiers. Then following Jesus’ arrest will come the scourging and crucifixion. The disciples will scatter and they will all be greatly troubled – so Jesus turns to the disciples and says, . . .
Belief in Difficult Times (vv. 1-7)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(v.1) “Let not your hearts be troubled,” – It is not a sin to be troubled. What Jesus is saying is to not allow worry to consume you. So how do we keep our concerns about life from consuming us, from totally overwhelming us?
Hudson Taylor, missionary to China and founder of what is today known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, gave this excellent advice: “Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into [God’s] hand; and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about.” Worry and anxiety is what we try to hold on to, we feel it is within our control. But the truth is that even when tomorrow arrives and the wolf is at the door, you still have no absolute control.
The way to keep worry from consuming us is faith and prayer in the triune Godhead. Philippians 4:6-7 “. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus says to the disciples, “Believe in God; believe also in me.” – It is very important for the disciples to understand who Jesus really is and what He is like. Jesus is the Son of Man, the Bread of Life, the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the World – God who took on human flesh and dwelt amongst His creation. Jesus is telling the disciples to believe that He is who He says He is.
How we interpret the trials of this life is directly related to our understanding of God. We say that God is all powerful, but He can’t deal with your problem? We say God is all-knowing but He doesn’t know what you are going through? God is love, yet He allows you to suffer and experience pain?
For the disciples, things are about to get really bad, and it would be easy for them to believe that God was against them, mad at them, not concerned about them, or was powerless to stop these things form happening. How we understand God also directly affects how we pray, or even if we pray at all.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (see also James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7). When Jesus says that He is going away, He is not abandoning them (God does not abandon His people), but leaving them for a purpose, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
The emphasis of the Father’s house is not on the opulence but on Jesus providing space. There is plenty of room for those who have faith in the Son. This is not about you living in a mansion or receiving wealth when you get to heaven; Jesus is emphasizing that there is a space for you to be with Him. He is preparing heaven so that there is space to be with Him for eternity. The focus is the relationship with God. “will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Jesus is saying that He is preparing a place where you can be with Him, not so that you can be rich.
2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” So Jesus is leaving, but while He is away he is preparing a place in heaven for his own, and will one day return to gather believers and take them to heaven.
(v. 4) “you know the way to where I am going,” – Jesus then points back to his teachings, to the three and half years he has spent with the disciples. Jesus says, “I have been teaching you for years; in that information you have what you need to get you to where he is going.” How much do they recall from over three years of teaching?
Jesus is expecting them to remember, to have applied His teachings to their lives, to be able to take from this library full of stories, sermons, miracles, and His example and live a Christian life – what the early church called “The Way.” Jesus still expects His followers to do this; we have the privilege and blessing to have Jesus’ teachings in a book that we can cross-reference, flip to the back and look stuff up by topics, etc. To show up for a service is not enough, God expects us to make the effort to learn and apply God’s Word to our lives, “you know the way,” You have to make an effort to learn and apply God’s Word to your life. You have at your fingertips all the information you need.
When we hear comments such as, “it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere,” or “all religions will lead men to heaven,” or “creeds and doctrine are not important” – Jesus clears all that up, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(v. 5) “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” – Instead of pretending like he knew what was going on, or that he understood what Jesus was talking about, he spoke up and said something.
So Jesus answers Thomas’ question by saying, (v. 6) “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – Jesus is going to be with the Father in heaven; He is speaking of the way to God. Jesus not only shows people how to go to heaven, but He himself is the way (He will lay down His life for mankind’s salvation).
You need all three of these expressions for salvation, “Way speaks of a connection between two, the link between God and man. “Truth” reminds us of the complete reliability of Jesus in all that He does and is. And “life” stresses the fact that mere physical existence matters little.” We will also see that Jesus would rise from the dead, showing power over life and death.
When Jesus says, “I am the way,” He is not saying that He is the way-shower, as if man was at a fork in the road and Jesus shows him the correct way; he asks himself “what would Jesus do?” As if by making the right decisions Jesus will make your life better. No, mankind “needs a Savior, because he is lost, dead in his sins, without strength to do anything.” So when Jesus declares, “I am the Way,” there is no other way for lost sinners to be saved from their sin, or to be made right with God, except through Him.
When Jesus says, “I am the truth,” Jesus is not just revealing truth, He is the Truth Himself. “While the Word of God, the written revelation of God, is truth, He, the living Word, is the Whosoever knows Him knows truth, for in Him are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
“I am the Life, Jesus is the source of life. He was at the beginning of time, as the Creator, He sustains all life in the present, and Jesus redeems His creation back as it’s Savior. Jesus gives eternal life, by His sacrificial death on the cross. He is the origin of all life.
(v. 7) “From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – up until this point, the disciples did not truly know God the Father because the Son was continuing to reveal, teach, show, and be an example in front of them; but now this revelation was drawing to a close. All the lessons, all the parables, all the rebukes, all the miracles, and Jesus’ time on earth was drawing to a close – once his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension were done Jesus’ job as Savior would be complete. From this point on in history it was now possible to know God.
Jesus shows us how to know God, and what God is like.
Belief Grounded in Jesus’ Works (vv. 8-11)
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
Again, this conversation is taking place in the context of their hearts being troubled. Philip says in so many words, “if we can just see the Father, then all of our heartache and fear will go away.” Phillip asks Jesus to show them God the Father, and Jesus responds (v. 9) “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” – Jesus answers the question, “what is God like?”
(v. 9) “Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?” – It was Philip who went to Nathaniel in John 1:45, “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Philip knew Jesus was the Messiah, but even at this point, after over three years that title is still filling with understanding.
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” – “In the OT the prophets beheld a visible glory of the Lord. He dwelt in the midst of His people, both in the tabernacle and in the temple. Many times His glory was seen. Isaiah beheld him in the temple vision; Ezekiel saw the glory and in the midst of the glorious cloud one like unto a son of man; Daniel beheld Him in His visions and saw Him face to face on the river bank. They did not know that he who appeared in visible glory – whom Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and other holy men of God saw – was none other but he in whose companionship they had walked, who was speaking to them now.”
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,” – Jesus is encouraging the disciples to have faith in Him, but it is not a blind faith. But it is a “Faith (that) includes a recognition that what Jesus says is true.” Jesus’ invitation is not to a lifestyle change, or a different way of thinking (like meditation), nor something to add to your life that will help you be healthier, or wealthier. Jesus says, “come follow me.” It is an invitation to a relationship with God that requires you to give everything (ex. the disciples left everything to follow Jesus.)
(v. 11) “or else believe on account of the works themselves,” – Jesus says something similar in John 5:36 “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.” “His miracles are more than mere acts of power. They are signposts revealing the presence of God in him and telling us that the kingdom of God has arrived.” The works that Jesus did should point a person to place their faith in Him.
That faith in Jesus is not just a mental belief, but one that drives that person to action.
Followers of Jesus Do the Work (vv. 12-14)
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
The book of Acts is a picture of what happens with the group of Jesus’ disciples after He ascends into heaven. There are some miracles, “but the emphasis is on the mighty works of conversion.” There were many people saved during Jesus’ ministry, but when you go across the generations, millions upon millions of people have placed their faith in Christ. “During His lifetime the Son of God was confined in His influence to a comparatively small sector of Palestine. After His departure His followers were able to work” all over the world.
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do” and “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” – Both of these promises from God are based on the disciples desire to make the name of Christ known, to continue to work of Jesus in their time and place. As the disciple seeks to do what Jesus did, he or she will run across needs in ministry. As they are seeking to glorify God, to continue His mission they ask Him for something – Jesus then promises to answer their request.
The work of Christ and prayer are expected to go hand-in-hand. If you are a disciple then you do what Jesus did. If you are doing what Jesus did, then you will pray. If you are praying, then ask for anything in Jesus’ name and He will do it.
 Leon Morris, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, Michigan; WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.) 637.
 For more information on Jesus’ return see https://drewboswell.com/1-thessalonians-sermon-series-standing-firm-foundational-doctrine-for-new-believers-standing-firm-in-christs-return-1-thessalonians-413-18/
 Arno C. Gaebelein, The Gospel of John, An Exposition (Neptune, New Jersey; Loizeaux Brothers, 1982) 270.
 Gaelelein, 271.
 A theophany such as Ex. 24:10; 33:17ff; Isa. 6:1
 This is why doctrine, for the believer, is so important. For more in this topic see: https://drewboswell.com/category/sermons/the-fundamentals-of-our-faith/
 Grant R. Osborne, Osborne New Testament Commentaries, Verse by Verse, John (Bellingham, Washington; Lexham Press, 2018) 339.
 Morris, 646.