This is the sermons for Wednesday October 7th, 2009. It is the 62nd sermon in the book of John series we are doing on Wednesday nights.
John part 62
Comforting Words part 2
John 14:4-14 ESV – 4And 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?” 6Jesus 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.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus 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’? 10Do 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. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 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.
We are still in our setting that has been traditionally called, “The Last, or Lord’s Supper.”
In this setting so far we have seen Jesus:
- Wash the disciple’s feet.
- Reveal Judas as the betrayer.
- Reveal the New Commandment to love one another.
- Reveal that Peter would deny Him.
Jesus is now turning His focus in Chapter 14 to give some comforting words to the Eleven.
John 14:1-3 ESV – 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In 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? 3And 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.
So far in Chapter 14 we’ve seen:
- His disciples should not continue to be troubled.
- They should continue to believe in the Father and the Son.
- The promise of heaven for His disciples.
Let’s now continue in verses 4-14 and see some more of Christ’s comforting words.
The comfort of knowing the way.
John 14:4-7 ESV – 4And 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?” 6Jesus 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.”
After Jesus tells them He is going away to prepare of place for them and then return for them (verse 3) – He declares that the Eleven knows the way to where He is going (verse 4).
Thomas, in His confusion, states that they don’t know the way and what Jesus is talking about (verse 5).
I don’t believe that Jesus was put off by Thomas’s confusion. I believe when Jesus made the statement in verse 4 about them knowing the way, that He knew Thomas’s response and He was going to use Thomas’s response to reveal a statement of Diety – It is the sixth I AM statement found in the book of John (verse 6).
Now on the surface, they should have known what Jesus was talking about. He spoke plainly about His mission; where He came from; what He came to do; where He is going. Here are a few examples from the Gospels.
Matthew 16:21 ESV – From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Luke 9:22 ESV – “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Luke 18:31-32 ESV – 31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.
The honest reason that the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying at the time was they were not converted because Christ hadn’t died and rose yet, so the Holy Spirit did not indwell them at the time that Jesus spoke these truths. Paul explains this quite well.
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Next we that Jesus declares the way: He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way into the Presence of the Father (verse 6). Jesus is showing us that our destination is not so much a physical place as it is a person (the Father), and the only way to this destination is through a person (Jesus Christ).
This is what makes Christianity so personal: we (sinful persons) approach God (the perfectly righteous person) through Jesus Christ our Savior (our personal sacrifice for sin).
Jesus is not only the way to the Father; He is also the truth or reality of all God’s promises. He is also life – His divine, holy life becomes ours both now and forever.
Jesus declares that they have known and seen the Father (verse 7). What a powerful statement to make! Jesus is boldly declaring, “If you have seen me – you’ve seen Father God!”
What can we learn from these truths? The only true revelation of God and access to Him is through Jesus Christ!
The comfort of knowing the Father through the Son.
John 14:8-11 ESV – 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus 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’? 10Do 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. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
For Philip, evidently words were not enough, even if they were the words of his Master, Jesus Christ. He wanted a vision from God (verse 8).
Notice he said it would be enough for him and the Eleven if they were shown the Father. The Greek word for “show” is deiknuo (deiknuo) (dike-noo`o). It means, “to show, to present, to reveal.” It carries the idea of presenting physical evidence to back up a claim.
What they don’t realize is Jesus has presented physical evidence of the Father – Himself (verse 9)!
(Verses 10-11) – Jesus next gets to the heart of the matter. Do they really believe what He has taught and what He has done? They should believe, for the miracles He performed pointed to the fact that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.
Many times we want confirmation and some type of evidence that we are in the will of God. And many times, God is gracious toward us and will give us confirmation. But what about those times that He doesn’t? What do we do then? Well, If you have examined yourself to see if you are in Christ – that should be enough confirmation to comfort and encourage you. You have Christ and His Holy Word – the Bible. You have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Encourage yourselves in these truths.
The comfort of Christ working in His disciples.
John 14:12-14 ESV – 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.
Now there has been a lot of controversy in recent years surrounding these verses. Some people quote this and declare that Jesus is saying that when you pray: everyone must be healed; every need must be supplied; you should receive the bigger house and nicer car; or more money and other carnal things of that nature. They state you should receive these things because they have been prayed for in the name of Jesus. Is this what Jesus meant?
Well, the Greek here is very important, just like it is important in every passage in the New Testament.
First off, let’s look at the Greek for the word “works.” It is not the regular Greek word used in the Gospels concerning miracles and the supernatural, which is energeo; It is the Greek word ergon (er`gon). It means, “a work, a deed, achievement, action, thing or a matter.” In the Gospels ergon mostly carries an ethical meaning, like beautiful acts or gestures to validate claims. In this case, works, gestures, and sayings, that validate the claims of Christ. So while the miraculous is listed as part of the ergon works, ergon is not limited to the supernatural works alone.
So for us these works would be prayer for healing and the miraculous; but also works of teaching, sharing our faith, preaching the Gospel, and differing acts of service.
(verses 13-14): Now what does Jesus mean about “asking in His name”? Jesus is not giving us a guarantee that every prayer will be answered as long as it is tagged, “In the name of Jesus,” at the end. He is stating that He will answer according to His character. Name in Greek is onoma (on`om-ah). It means, “name, authority, or character.” Praying in the name of Jesus is to pray in the will and character of Christ.
How do we know His will? The complete counsel of the Word of God; not verses pulled and wretched out of context.
So if we pray something and don’t receive what does that tell us?
- It could mean that we are doubting. It is important to note that before we quote the verse in James that shows this; this passage is not talking about praying for miracles and gifts of healing, but praying for wisdom.
James 1:5-8 ESV – 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
- It could mean our motivation for answered prayer is wrong.
James 4:3 TNIV – When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
- We don’t receive because of disobedience.
1 John 3:22 ESV – and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
- Finally, we don’t receive because it is not the will of the Lord.
1 John 5:14-15 ESV – 14And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
Just because you tag “in Jesus name” at the end of a prayer does not make it God’s will; neither does it mean you are truly praying “in Jesus name.” What makes the prayer “in Jesus name” is His authority, will, word, and character.
Verses 13-14 are comforting words because this passage shows the promise that God works in us and through us in our prayers because of Jesus Christ.
As we close, Take comfort in Christ’s words:
- He is the way, the truth, and the life.
- We know the Father through Him.
- Because we have a relationship with the Father through Christ Jesus, God will work through us as we approach Him through Jesus.