Summary: In answer to the despair of the disciples Christ holds out the hope of eternal life which is found only in a personal relationship with Him.
JESUS - THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE
It seems like a long time since I have been preaching to you – three weeks in fact. We return again this morning to our series on the ‘I AM’ sayings of Christ Jesus. Turn with me to John 14, and to probably one of the most well known sayings of Christ Jesus. This is my personal favourite ‘I AM’ saying of Christ Jesus – read verse 6. That is the verse we are going to look at this morning but as I always say to you – ‘you must always set Scripture in its context.’ So let us do that now.
Turn with me to chapter 13. Christ Jesus and his disciples are in the upper room. He has performed the must humble act of service for them in washing their feet and they have shared fellowship with one another in the breaking of bread and sharing the common cup of wine. Judas has been given one last opportunity to turn from the path of betrayal but he chooses to betray Christ and at the end of verse 30 we read ‘and it was night.’ Signifying the darkness not only of the hour but of the heart of Judas and the world into whose hands Christ was going to be betrayed. Christ then begins his final discourse with his disciples which will run into chapters 14-17. He speaks of his betrayal and then in verse 33 speaks of his departure from them and how they, at this time, will be unable to follow him. He sets forward then the great commandment that they should love one another because by this men will know that they belong to him. Then Peter, how I love Peter, asks where Christ is going (verse 36) and we have this short conversation between Christ and Peter in which Peter’s denial of Christ Jesus is predicted. I can understand Peter’s question (v36) – he has genuine love for Christ. These men had given up all to follow him for the last three years and now he says where he is going they cannot follow. Bewilderment and perhaps exasperation lead Peter to question Christ’s statement. Then we enter chapter 14 and this wonderful passage concerning Christ, salvation and eternal life.
John 14 verses 1-4 The Promised place for them.
Before we enter into these verses think for a moment what the disciples were about to encounter over the next few hours. They would leave this upper room and make their way through the darkness to Gethsemane. There they would witness the distress of their Master in prayer and then the betrayal of Christ by Judas with a kiss. They would desert him and Peter would deny him. Finally they would see him struggle through the streets with a cross on his shoulders to Golgotha and there at Calvary they would watch as he was crucified. Christ had spoke of his death on several occasions to them and now it was only a matter of hours away. Knowing the emotional turmoil that they were about to face Christ speaks these words – read verse1. The hour of their deepest distress was about to dawn upon them and Christ speaks the remedy for it to them. Christ looks at their faces and he sees the turmoil of their hearts and minds writ large. He knows that in their hearts a medley of emotions is being played out in their hearts. At present they are sad and depressed at the prospect of his departure. They were ashamed at their display of selfishness and pride in refusing to wash one another’s feet. They are perplexed that one of them is going to betray him and that Peter would deny him. Can’t you hear their hearts saying “If Peter cannot stand up, how will we?” Then their faith begins to waver – “How can he who is the Messiah be betrayed?” Yet each of them love Christ deeply and his love for them is now displayed in the words of verse 1 following. He speaks to them, not in our modern ‘it will be alright’ but he speaks with assurance that there is a solid foundation to his words and not mere wishfulness.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’ – literally ‘Let not your hearts any longer be troubled.’ Their hearts were troubled but Christ now speaks to reassure them and to give them solid ground on which to rest their hearts. That ground is found in the second part of verse 1 – read 1b. Their trust must remain in God and Christ. Even when the events unfolding before them seem to tell them the opposite the only sure foundation in time of trouble is belief, faith, trust in God and in Christ (who are one – verse 10). Please note will that Christ nowhere promises to take them out of the trouble. He nowhere promises that their hearts will not be troubled – but that when their hearts are troubled, as they surely will be, they are to trust in God and Him. Christ then goes on to assure them of future – which in a matter of hours will be darkened by the cloud of death and despair which will come upon them at the crucifixion – read verse 2.